The Intercept: Pence must invoke the 25th Amendment now


It’s never happened in the history of the United States but a British political journalist thinks now would be a swell time for Vice-President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. As a matter of fact, he is demanding that Pence act right now because President Trump isn’t mentally capable of leading us through the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

In an open letter to Vice-President Pence, Mehdi Hasan writes in The Intercept that the 25th Amendment must be invoked and points to the relevant wording: “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 very first example or reason Hasan uses as justification for such an outlandish demand, though, is all about President Trump’s treatment of journalists. Journalists suffer from thin skin around this president and Hasan is no different, apparently. He uses the dust-up between Trump and NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander as proof that Trump has lost his mind. Many of us who watched the verbal exchange between the two men saw nothing that Trump hasn’t done in the past – when he thinks a journalist is more interested in criticizing him instead of asking a legit question, he lashes out at the reporter. In this case, Pence answered the question in more emotionally compassionate words than did Trump so Hasan reminds Pence of that.

What is it with journalists right now during a coronavirus pandemic who are taking it upon themselves to personally ask powerful people to do their bidding? Jazz wrote about another Never Trump journalist who took it upon herself to beg former presidents G.W. Bush and Barack Obama to step in and “outline a national plan of action” and then insist that Trump follow that plan. Who exactly is the one with the diminished mental capacity? It sure looks like its the Trump deranged journalists, not the president.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Trump broke a lot of people when he was inaugurated. He continues to do so as he serves in office. The dumbest criticism, though, if you ask me, is the kind that is based on hurt feelings and not actual actions. This open letter is a return to the same call for the implementation of the 25th Amendment that some in the mental health business promoted earlier in Trump’s presidency. Remember when CNN and MSNBC gave lots of air time to some pretty out-there mental health professionals who were willing to diagnose the president through a camera lens, never having even met the man? It was ridiculous and dangerously unprofessional. Hasan even references one such character.

Hasan isn’t a fan of Mike Pence, either. He despises him, clearly, almost as much as he does Trump. He calls Pence a sycophant, a coward and bashes his “far-right politics”. It’s just that Pence is the lesser of two evils in this case. He characterizes Trump’s actions during this crisis so far and it is straight out of the unhinged left’s playbook of talking points. He should be on the payroll of the DNC, or maybe the Sanders campaign.

This is a president who rambles, rants, and raves; who spent weeks downplaying the spread of the novel coronavirus and ignoring warnings from his own intelligence agencies; who claimed to be unaware that Americans who need tests are unable to get them; who uses press briefings not to inform the public but to regularly attack the press; who went golfing while health professionals begged for resources and equipment; who has repeatedly contradicted his own top scientists by pushing unproven drugs as a treatment for Covid-19; who tried to buy a vaccine from Germany but only for “exclusive” use in the United States; who took a break from crisis management to go on Twitter and complain about Hillary Clinton’s emails and Benghazi.

How is this behavior not utterly unhinged? How does it not justify you invoking the 25th Amendment on behalf of the American people, who are being infected by Covid-19 in rapidly increasing numbers?

There is a clear timeline of the response to the coronavirus crisis on Trump’s campaign website. It’s fair to say that some actions could have been taken quicker or that the CDC should have been better prepared or that the president probably shouldn’t have done so much happy talk to keep the public calm but hindsight is 20/20 and there is no time now to waste on petty partisan politics. Hasan sounds like a Bernie Bro but since he’s a British citizen, he’s not voting in the election anyway. (Bernie Sanders was his first guest when he launched his podcast.) To think that the 25th Amendment is applicable is off the charts.

The single most important (and controversial) action that Trump took was to shut down air travel from China. Dr. Fauci made that recommendation early on and Trump did it. He takes advice from his team of experts. Democrats are trying their best to play politics and are given air time on cable network news channels to do so. Trump’s polling numbers continue to go up and Democrats are nervous. They would rather that the Trump administration botch the response to a pandemic than to root for a quick, competent recovery. Bernie Sanders is tweeting out what he thinks is the country’s need for Medicare for All and Joe Biden is tweeting out his plan, which isn’t a plan at all but a bunch of words meant to sound as though it is. Biden’s tweets are not getting the reception his campaign thought they would, though. Everything Joe suggests is already being done by the Trump administration.

Go back to sleep, Joe.

Never Trump journalists continue to show why Trump comes down hard on them when they go off on him. It’d be nice while we are all just trying to get through this medical and economic crisis if journalists would stick to reporting facts and skip their selfish personal pleadings with prominent public figures for a while.

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