Donald Trump is “psychologically unfit” to hold the presidency after bragging about the nuclear capabilities of the United States and seemingly threatening nuclear war against North Korea, a former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush said this week.
Richard Painter, who worked in the Bush administration, has been a frequent critic of Donald Trump and turned his sights on the president on Wednesday after a particularly boastful tweet. This week, Trump ratcheted up the war of words with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, bragging that the United States has a vastly superior nuclear arsenal and that Trump himself is in control of it.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,'” Trump wrote. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
As Newsweek noted, Painter believed that the tweet was dangerous and showed that Trump is not fit to hold office. He said that that the U.N. Security Council needs to “deal with” one of the two, referring to Kim Jong Un, and that Congress needs to deal with Trump.
“This Tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th Amendment. This man should not have nukes,” he continued.
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a plan for removing a president that Congress believes is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Critics have said that Trump could be removed on the basis of what they believe are unhinged statements, showing compromised mental abilities.
Painter is not the only conservative questioning Donald Trump’s fitness to hold office. Not long after Trump’s tweet, journalist Bill Kristol spoke out against Trump’s “craziness” and said that Mike Pence could take over the office soon. The editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard has also been a frequent critic of Trump, and on Wednesday, Kristol leveled some of his harshest criticism yet.
“Most of [Trump]’s craziness seems so far to have been confined to speech not deeds. But I trust [Pence] has asked his Counsel to prepare a draft document transferring power in accord with Sec. 4 of 25th Amendment in case it’s suddenly needed, & that he’s discussed this with [Chief of State John Kelly],” Kristol tweeted.
Removing Donald Trump from office — especially by the 25th Amendment — remains only a remote possibility. To impeach Trump, it would take the support of a wave of Republicans, and amid his controversial statements, Trump has maintained the support of many members of his party.