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November 22, 2017

It’s Time To Invoke the 25th Amendment


Sweet Jesus, somebody pinch me. I can’t believe this is happening. Thursday afternoon, Donald Trump stood in front of the press and the nation and had what can only be described as a total meltdown. For 77 minutes, the man raged at the media, the Democrats and the judiciary. In a paranoid frenzy, he blamed everyone in the known universe for his problems, while insisting his administration is running “like a fine-tuned machine.” If by fine-tuned, he means a rocket hurtling toward the earth, then I guess he’s right.

And when he wasn’t deflecting, which appears to be his number one specialty, he was engaging in another one of his favorite pastimes: spewing racist and bigoted comments. In one particularly distasteful exchange, Trump asked an African-American reporter to set up a meeting between himself and the Congressional Black Caucus. Evidently, he believes all black people know each other. In another exchange, he told a Jewish reporter to sit down because the reporter had the temerity to ask him about the rise in antisemitism.

It has been one month since this narcissistic buffoon took the oath of office and already he has had more scandals than the previous administration had in eight years. The “resignation” of Michael Flynn could well prove to be the worst scandal in presidential history, surpassing Watergate by a mile. Dr. Allen Francis is right. “Calling Trump mentally ill IS an insult to the mentally ill.”

“Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well-behaved and well-meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).”

But whether Trump is mentally ill or just the most thin-skinned megalomaniac ever to occupy the Oval Office is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. The point is he is unfit to serve as commander-in-chief. His performance Thursday confirmed it.

This is not the way the leader of the free world is supposed to behave; hell, it’s not even the way a six-year-old is supposed to behave. Seriously, if you had a kid who behaved like Trump did in that “press conference,” you wouldn’t just send him to his room, you’d take him to see a specialist. Well adjusted people simply don’t act like this; certainly not in public.

That this man has access to the nuclear launch codes is frightening. If he can go off on a rampage over journalists finally doing their jobs, imagine what could happen if he faced an actual crisis like North Korea having the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead to the west coast or a Russian incursion into eastern Europe. Don’t kid yourself, you know it’s coming; it’s only a matter of when. Our friends may be perturbed by his conduct, but our adversaries are practically rolling in the aisles. For them, Trump is the gift they’ve been dreaming of for years: an unprepared, and thoroughly ill-equipped president with the attention span of a gnat. You think Vladimir Putin wanted him to win the election just so he could get a couple of free nights at Trump Tower? The man may be a ruthless thug, but he knows a sap when he sees one, even if, sadly, the minions who voted for him didn’t.

And now this sap has become the laughing-stock of the world. His demeanor, his delusions of grandeur, his outright racist comments, would be grounds for resignation or sanctions for a congressman, senator or governor; for a sitting president, they go beyond the pale. This cannot and must not be allowed to continue. Our reputation is at stake; not to mention the fate of billions of people.

That is why it is imperative that Donald Trump be removed from office as quickly as possible. If the Republican-controlled Senate will not impeach him, then there is another avenue available: the 25th Amendment. Section four states:

Whenever 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, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Granted, this won’t be an easy task; in fact, it hasn’t happened once since the Amendment was passed. But if ever there was an occasion for it to be utilized, this is it. We’re not just talking about someone who occasionally has a bad hair day; we’re talking about someone who can probably count the number of lucid moments in his adult life on both hands and one foot. And this someone holds a unique position of power that makes him a threat to the very Republic he swore an oath to defend.

Now I know what you’re thinking: if Trump is removed, we wind up with Pence. How does that help us? Well, so far as policy goes, it doesn’t. Unlike Trump, Pence has a moral compass. You may not like which direction it’s pointing – neither do I – but he’s predictable as dirt. He’ll do whatever he can to get his right-wing agenda through Congress, and he’ll probably be successful with most of it. As I’ve said before, elections do have consequences. Look, on the bright side he should be easier to run against in 2020, presuming the Democrats nominate a stronger candidate than they did last time around.

The sad truth is once the election was over, there was never going to be an easy way out. This was a shit sandwich no matter how you sliced it. At least with Pence, it won’t be laced with arsenic.

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Peter Fegan

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