Donald Trump claimed Sunday that Nancy Pelosi is not fit to serve as questions over her status as third-in-line to the presidency emerge after she formed a commission on removing from office presidents deemed unfit.
‘I don’t think she could pass basic aptitude test personally,’ Trump told Fox News Sunday morning. ‘I really don’t, I don’t believe it.’
The comments come as concerns from conservatives arise over the fact Pelosi could rise to power in the case of a contested election.
On Friday, Pelosi rolled out legislation to set up a commission under the 25th Amendment to weigh whether a president is incapacitated.
She claimed the move had nothing to do with potentially removing COVID-19-stricken President Donald Trump and having Vice President Mike Pence take over.
SECTION 4 OF THE 25TH AMENDMENT: THE DOOMSDAY CLAUSE TO REMOVE A PRESIDENT
Section IV describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.
The vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that ‘the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’
The term principal officers of the executive departments would normally mean the cabinet secretaries.
So at least eight of the president’s 15 most senior Cabinet members together with the vice president must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.
Notifying the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an ‘acting president’ role.
The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate.
Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.
As soon as there is a vote with a two-thirds majority, the president loses his powers and is removed, and the vice president stops acting and is sworn in as president.
But if 21 days of debate and votes ends without a two-thirds majority, the president gets back his powers.
The 25th Amendment allows Congress to appoint its own panel to evaluate the president instead of relying on the Cabinet – the men and women who work most closely with Trump – to decide on a course of action.
It specifies that some ‘other body as Congress may by law provide’ could play that role, but Pence would still need to agree with any finding that the president is incapable of discharging his duties.
Trump reiterated during his interview on ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that he believes Pelosi wants to set up the commission to prepare for replacing Joe Biden with the much more progressive option, vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, should they win in November.
‘I think she’s talking about Joe Biden, because, to be honest with you, he’s the one that’s got the problem,’ Trump said of Pelosi’s comments Friday when announcing the commission.
‘It’s obvious to anybody that watches him speak. He’s the one that has the problem. And they want to put a super radical left person in, like Kamala, who’s worse than – who’s further left than Bernie Sanders,’ he continued.
He added: ‘A lot of people think that she’s talking about Joe Biden, getting him out.’
Trump often has questioned Biden’s fitness to serve as president, dubbing the candidate ‘Sleepy Joe’ and making reference to his frequent gaffes and supposed lack of physical and mental stamina.
Conspiracies have swirled since Biden’s announcement that the 77-year-old candidate is really just paving the way for his vice president to take over his seat in the Oval Office shortly after taking office if he defeats Trump.
‘Crazy Nancy Pelosi is looking at the 25th Amendment in order to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris. The Dems want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of it!!!’ Trump tweeted Friday.
Pelosi heavily hyped the upcoming legislative move on Thursday but when she unveiled the plan, immediately made clear it was in effect a troll against the president.
‘This is not about president Trump. He will face the judgement of the voters,’ Pelosi told reporters in a press conference at the Capitol.
‘He shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents,’ she said.
Pelosi faced repeated questions about her intentions as she noted a day earlier that the president was medicated and questioned his ‘capacity’ in a letter to colleagues hours before her press conference.
‘Any of us who is under medication of that seriousness is in an altered state. He has bragged about the medication that he has taken,’ she said.
‘There are those who believe that taking certain medications can affect your judgement,’ Pelosi continued. ‘I don’t know,’ she said, referencing a call with her members.
‘It’s not about any of us making a judgment about the president’s well being,’ she said. ‘It’s about this respected, bipartisan [body]. If the president wins this election, yes it would apply to him. If he doesn’t, it’ll apply to the next president of the United States.’
‘It’s not about the election at all,’ she urged.
Part of Trump’s treatment was taking the steroid dexamethasone, and many critics claim his behavior and decisions since being put on the drug are rash and not in his interest or the interests of those around him.
On Sunday he told Bartiromo during his interview that he is no longer taking any drugs to treat him for coronavirus.
‘As far as medication, I’m not on any medication,’ he said as he claimed he is cured of the disease and now ‘immune’ from COVID-19.
Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a constitutional scholar, outlined the legislation.
It would create a body of retired presidents and cabinet officials, along with medical professionals, who could weigh in along with the vice president in the event the president is incapacitated and could not fulfill his duties.
Both Pelosi and Raskin stressed that the move was for the next Congress for scenarios raised by the coronavirus pandemic – not as a quick way to remove Trump from office.
Raskin said the 25th Amendment was ‘designed to guarantee the continuing peaceful transfer of power in our country,’ and said it was ‘only for the most extreme situations where you have a president who cannot fulfill the functions of the office.’
Trump announced overnight October 1 that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in close contact with White House Counselor Hope Hicks – who earlier tested positive.
The day after, Trump was transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center where he remained for three days and was treated for the virus.
He was sent back to the White House on a cocktail of medications including the steroid and antiviral medication remdesivir. At least twice the president was treated with supplemental oxygen and was given a treatment to artificially speed up the antibody creation process for coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Trump’s top physician Dr. Sean Conley announced a test showed antibodies were present in the president’s system.
He also released a memo Saturday night claiming the president was no longer at risk of transmitting the disease and could end isolation according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.