A cup of Morning Joe turned into a morning jolt this week when the president of the United States tweet-slammed the free press and anchorwoman Mika Brzezinski along with her co-host Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's Morning Joe. Yahoo News reports that within four hours of those tweets, Democrat Congress member Rep. Jamie Raskin had an email out to 25 Democrats in the House, asking for support in backing his bill that would create a new commission that could possibly remove Trump from office under the 25th amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
The tweets that Donald Trump put out this week have put his own mental health under the spotlight again. Even some of his own supporters have spoken out against them. What Trump said in his tweet was the following.
"I heard poorly rated Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore.) Then how come low I.Q. crazy Mika along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-A-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"
The press frequently accompanies Donald Trump on his trips to his Palm Beach, Florida, resort Mar-A-Lago. The tweets prompted a Washington Post column headlined, "The president is not well."The response from the public was as intense as the tweets themselves. One of Donald Trump's own voters tweeted directly to him saying, "please stop all these crazy tweets. I held my nose and voted for you, but if this keeps up; don't think so. Be Presidential."
While GOP Congress members have been largely quiet about the provocative tweets, Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin was not.
Within four hours of the tweets, multiple Democrats in Congress received an email from Jamie Raskin seeking support for a bill that would launch a new commission that would remove Trump from office under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, by declaring him mentally incapacitated to fulfill his duties.
Yahoo News reports that Rep. Raskin told his Congressional colleagues the matter was of "enduring importance to the security of our nation." To Yahoo News in an interview, Rep. Raskin said the "bizarre litany of events and outbursts" that have come from the president since January are grounds for his latest measure. He also referred to the president's tweeting behavior as "deranged."
"I assume every human being is allowed one or two errant and seemingly deranged tweets. The question is whether you have a sustained pattern of behavior that indicates something is seriously wrong."In the White House press briefing the day of the tweets, Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended them saying the president "fights fire with fire." Since Thursday afternoon, the day of the email by Rep. Raskin, four additional Democrats have signed onto the measure.
The 25th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States was adopted after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was a measure put forth by Congress at the time designed to meet the needs of a country during a future presidential crisis should a president become incapacitated and unable to fulfill the duties of the office.
Cornell Law states that the 25th Amendment provides for the replacement of the president under four different scenarios. In Section One of the Amendment, the 25th Amendment can be invoked if the president dies or resigns. Section Two allows for the president to nominate a new vice president should a sudden vice presidency vacancy occur. That vice president would still need to be confirmed by Congress.
In Section Three of the 25th Amendment, a president can temporarily declare himself unable to discharge his own duties through a written declaration to the Senate Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives. Today's Senate Pro Tempore is Rep. Orrin Hatch of Utah.
This does not mean that Orrin Hatch would become the president, it is only he who is notified of the president's wish to temporarily remove himself from office. In this case, the vice president would resume the duties. This sort of situation would occur if say a president was about to undergo surgery or was ill for an extended period of time, or, rendered incapacitated from their job for whatever reason.
It would be upon the president's written declaration to Congress that he would resume his duties after this period of self-declared incapacitation. The final section of this Amendment outlines the process whereby others declare the president incapacitated and unable to fulfill his duties.
Under Section Four of the 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet or "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."
It is Section Four that Rep. Jamie Raskin is focusing on in his new bill, and it is the section of the "other body as Congress" that he is focusing on as well. Rep. Raskin is hoping to launch a new commission that would serve as this "other body," as opposed to waiting for a GOP controlled Cabinet to make a decision on the president's mental health.
The 25th Amendment was invoked during the Watergate scandal, after Spiro Agnew resigned from the vice president's position, a move which ultimately led to Gerald Ford taking over that position. This turn of events would lead to Gerald Ford becoming president after Nixon's resignation. The 25th Amendment was then used by Gerald Ford to nominating Nelson Rockefeller for vice president.
History certainly has set a precedent whereby multiple members of an Administration are removed on or about the same time frame, including the vice president.
Rep. Raskin's measure is not focusing so much on Vice President Pence at this time, but rather, what he perceives is the problem the current president poses to the national security of the United States. He wants a bipartisan commission established that would determine whether or not Donald Trump, or any sitting president, is fit to serve. In order for that commission to recommend invoking the 25th Amendment, a law passed by Congress would be required to establish the commission in the first place.
The Commission would be called the "Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity." Rep. Raskin says it would include four physicians, four mental health psychiatrists, and three additional members that would include previous presidents or vice presidents. Rep. Raskin, who taught constitutional law before entering Congress, hopes the commission would be granted the power "to determine whether the president is incapacitated, either mentally or physically." Rep Raskin said the following of his measure.
"I've had tons of inquiries, and lots of colleagues have been talking to me about it. I'm convinced most Americans believe we are living in a very strange reality. The question is, what are the escape routes we have, and the 25th Amendment is one of them."
Many Democrats are in agreement with Rep. Raskin. His bill for the commission has already picked up support by Rep. John Conyers, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Committee responsible for launching impeachment process of any president. Former chair to the Democratic National Committee Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also behind Rep. Raskin's measure.
Should the law pass, declaring the president incapacitated will not come without legal hurdles. If a president challenges a finding that he is incapacitated, two-thirds of both chambers of the house would be required to overcome that challenge. At present, only a majority of the House is required for impeachment.
Further, the vice president can also veto a finding of an incapacitated president. If the law passed, and if the commission were established, and if it found Donald Trump incapacitated, Vice President Pence could stop the whole thing with one veto. But if he didn't veto any of that, then Mike Pence would become the next president.
Yahoo News reports that Rep. Raskin says the future of America is not certain with Trump as president.
"The question is, where are we going to be six months, 12 months, 18 months from now? The presidency is considered extremely stressful for people with the strongest mental health. We need to be prepared for all eventualities."Many of Donald Trump's own voters have been questioning his mental health for some time. One recently tweeted after the Morning Joe firestorm, "President Trump: I voted for you but you must STOP with the crazy tweets, it's hurting you more than you realize. You're losing support!"
But it's not the first time Trump has had his mental health questioned by his own voters. Another wrote to him in March, "I voted for you. But now I'm worried about your mental stability. I now think you are psychotic and need help sir."
While a Trump impeachment is on the lips of many, now so is invoking the 25th Amendment under Trump. What are your thoughts on his mental health?
[Feature Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]