25th Amendment: closer to being invoked?

If you thought a presidential impeachment made our stomachs churn while it was in progress, consider what reportedly has been discussed within the walls of the White House.

According to the anonymous op-ed published today in The New York Times, senior White House officials have discussed openly the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That’s the one that enables the “temporary” removal of the president who a majority of Cabinet members believe is unfit to carry out the duties of his office.

As the film director and political activist Rob Reiner noted via Twitter: Now we have it. From inside the Trump WH. Conservative Republican WH officials considered invoking 25th Amendment to remove the President from office. We’re a huge step closer to seeing this national nightmare come to an end. GOP electeds, handwriting is on the wall.

I’m not going to endorse the notion that we’re a “huge step” closer to seeing the amendment activated. Having endured a presidential impeachment, though, the idea of seeking to wrest the power away from this president gives me the serious heebie-jeebies.

The amendment was ratified in the 1967 after being proposed in 1965. It was drafted in reaction to the assassination of President Kennedy. It spells out the appointment of a vice president … as well as the removal of the current president.

The amendment sets a high bar for enactment. Most Cabinet members have to agree; so must two-thirds of both congressional chambers.

However, to think that a senior administration official has said out loud that others of his or her colleagues have discussed this option openly is a profoundly chilling notion.

It’s not that I would oppose it. It’s that it would constitute a political act none of us has any experience witnessing unfold in real time.

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