House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday announced legislation to create a commission that would allow Congress to oust a president from office, using the 25th Amendment, a day after she accused President Trump of being “in an altered state” from his coronavirus treatment.
“This is not about President Trump,” Pelosi maintained Friday. “He will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”
Pelosi denied that the timing of the legislation had anything to do with the election and argued that setting up a commission on presidential capacity is needed to “give some comfort to people” on the stability of the government.
PELOSI QUESTIONS TRUMP’S HEALTH, SAYS ‘WE’RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT THE 25TH AMENDMENT’
Pelosi was joined at the Capitol by bill author Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who said the coronavirus crisis has further shown the need for a succession plan in the event the president is incapacitated.
“We need to act,” Raskin said.
“In times of chaos, we must hold fast to our Constitution,” Raskin added. “The 25th amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office.”
Pelosi had previewed the new legislation on Thursday, telling reporters that she would be “talking about the 25th Amendment” on Friday — which allows for the vice president to become acting president if it is determined that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
She questioned the state of Trump’s health and his behavior since being diagnosed with COVID-19 amid an outbreak at the White House.
“The public needs to know the health condition of the president,” Pelosi said Thursday, demanding to know his negative test for the virus before announcing he was infected last week.
Trump later responded: “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!”
Under the 25th Amendment, Congress, the cabinet and vice president can strip powers from a president if for some reason he or she is declared unfit under dire circumstances. But that requires a 2/3 vote of both houses.
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment also states that Congress “may by law” indicate that it is believed “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
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The “by law” part is what Pelosi and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., are proposing Friday.
They have a bill, which would have to be passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president, which would set up “the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of the Office.” Prospectively, that commission would adjudicate the president’s viability for office.
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Raskin introduced a similar bill in 2017.
While such a bill may pass the Democrat-controlled House, it would seem extremely unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate unless there was a significant development in Trump’s health. However, it introduces a new political narrative just weeks before Election Day.
Trump was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last Friday, began a course of treatment, and returned to the White House Monday — before returning to the Oval Office on Wednesday.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.