Can we begin to discern the opening salvos that could precede the unprecedented use of the 25th Amendment to oust or sideline a sitting president?
Biden’s dementia has only gotten worse. Recently, at a virtual appearance before the Munich Economic Forum he had a total brain freeze. “The most important thing…” he began and then repeated “the most important thing…” With added emphasis. And then…a blank stare. He forgot what he was saying. Then followed five tortuous seconds of total gibberish, as he tripped over his words, about milestones and such that made no sense.
And this is the man who has his finger on the nuclear button? The same thought apparently occurred to thirty Democratic Congressmen — that’s right, Democrats, who wrote a letter to Biden imploring him to “consider modifying the decision-making process the United States uses in its command and control of nuclear forces.”
The Democrats, led by Ted Lieu and Jimmy Panetta, both California Democrats, posited three alternatives to keeping Biden’s shaky finger on the trigger:
• Requiring the vice president and the House Speaker to concur before a strike can be launched,
• Requiring the Secretary of Defense to attest to the validity of the order and the Attorney General to vouch for its legality.
• A permanent council of Congressional leaders on national security that would meet regularly with the president and would have to be consulted before a nuke was used.
Surely, the Russian, Chinese, Iranian, or North Korean missiles will pause over the polar ice cap while Biden makes his rounds.
Beyond the institutional power grab by the legislative branch of government this proposal obviously entails, lies its vote of no confidence in Biden by his fellow Democrats who just worked night and day to elect him president.
Could this be the next step in invoking the 25th Amendment?
The Amendment provides that “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.” The amendment goes on to say that if the president challenges his removal, Congress can only throw him out by a two-thirds majority both Houses.
The obvious obstacle to using this process is the need to get a majority of the president’s own appointees to turn on him.
On October 9th, Pelosi introduced legislation to sidestep this process by introducing a bill to set up just such an alternative to Cabinet approval. The new body, with eight members of each party chosen by their fellow lawmakers, plus the vice president, could oust a president with the approval of Congress.
While she meant the bill as a slap at Trump, who was recovering from COVID at the time, it would serve as well for Biden. With thirty Democratic House members asking Biden to relinquish his most important power, it’s easy to see how these thirty could join the half of the chamber that is Republican to set up the commission by a simple majority.
If Biden shows further signs of dementia — and he will — this process could pick up steam.
And where is Vice President Kamala Harris in this possible coup d’état? An interesting question.
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