On July 2, 2017, the Boston Globe published a piece discussing the Twitter trending #25thAmendmentNow. The idea that Trump is unfit for office, or much else other than a very short Pro Wrestling career, makes sense. It even feels good, as if its authors anticipated a lunatic could one day slither his way into the White House. I don’t think that’s what they had in mind. Nor does it seem likely that the 25th would be a viable path to pursue.
Unfit For Office
The phrase “unfit for office” seems a perfect fit for Trump. From psychosis evident to lay person, to his deeply disturbing aberrant and abhorrent behaviors, his is what I’ve taken to call a “malignant presidency”.
When considering this under the 25th Amendment, you should look to the constitutional language. Section 4 states “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” as the condition to report by the Vice President and the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Read the amendment and its historical context and I believe you will agree that in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination Congress created a well defined path of power transfer for use in the event the President is incapacitated.
Trump Is Unfit For Office
Indeed, he is, but the path to removal prescribed by the amendment is far too onerous given the political makeup of Congress. John Legum, in his ThinkProgress article “The 25th amendment is a fantasy” does a fine job of describing the path the 25th Amendment requires, and the reasons it can’t work now.
Impeach The Bum
Politically, impeachment is dicey, but not impossible. Given Trumps behaviors and level of public dissatisfaction, impeachment seems a much more viable path than #25thAmendmentNow.
Trump, who is known to reward loyalty, has made a number of terrible appointments for which the only justification for selection is personal loyalty. Loyalty is a desirable quality when making personnel choices. It does not, however, confer the ability to manage large, complex government enterprises absent any qualifying experience, training, and skill set.
One of his recent appointments is that of Lynne Patton to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office. Ms Patton is reported to have organized Eric Trump’s wedding and Trump golf tournaments, but I have seen nothing to qualify her to manage a large piece of the HUD enterprise.
It occurs to me that Trump’s behavior would be easy to predict in the ethics thought experiment of the runaway trolley. It goes like this:
There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options:
- Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track.
- Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.
Which is the most ethical choice?
Imagine Trump in control of the track lever. Imagine the group of five as at risk Americans. Now imagine the person on the side track as a Trump loyalist.
Which is the Trump choice?
We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
4 April 1967
He will likely resort to all the tricks of the demagogue as he fights for his survival.
Source: Trump Is a Cornered Megalomaniac—and That’s a Grave Danger to the Country
Olbermann is often a bit over the top for me, but he really makes his points in this piece.