The day before the House of Representatives is set to vote on two articles of impeachment against him, Donald Trump fired off what the host of one popular political podcast called a “deranged, unhinged” six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Shortly after the document — which was also described as “insane” by New York Magazine — was released to the public, the phrase “25th Amendment” started to trend on Twitter.
The 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution gives Congress — or even the president’s cabinet members, in some cases — the authority to strip a president of his power in the event that he is deemed physically or mentally unfit to hold office. In such cases, the vice president immediately assumes the role of president, at least until the commander-in-chief is once again deemed fit.
But the bizarre letter to Pelosi — in which Trump accuses the speaker of “declaring open war on American Democracy” — has again raised questions about whether he has the mental competence to hold the nation’s highest office.
“Trump’s deranged, unhinged letter makes a pretty compelling case that the President is unfit for office,” wrote Pod Save America host and former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau on his Twitter account.
Writing for New York Magazine, columnist Jonathan Chait focused on the final passage of Trump’s letter, which was posted online via the White House site. In those two paragraphs, the president reportedly “lingers on the psychic pain” that he appears to feel not only as a result of the impeachment proceedings but also due to the two-year Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
From President Trump’s six-page impeachment letter to Speaker Pelosi:
"More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials."
During the Salem witch trials more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. 20 were executed – mostly women. pic.twitter.com/JojlT4cNfN
— Michael Knigge (@kniggem) December 17, 2019
In the letter, Trump first complained to Pelosi of “the great damage and hurt you have inflicted upon wonderful and loving members of my family.” He then claimed that the speaker and the House Democrats “are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.”
According to Chait, Trump’s mention of his family is an “effort to feign stoicism.” But, as he added, the president himself is clearly “in agony,” to the extent “where his mental health is very much in question.”
NEW: Trump sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi in which he complains about how “unfair” the “impeachment hoax” is & tells her she is offending the Founding Fathers and “declaring war on American democracy”:
“It’s a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with, not I!” pic.twitter.com/sAX9FwqkfV
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) December 17, 2019
In a reaction to the Trump letter published online by GQ Magazine, writer Luke Darby also called the document “deranged,” and “a mishmash of self-congratulatory and self-aggrandizing talking points.”
According to Darby, the president accused Pelosi of the very offenses that he himself has been accused of, including interfering in elections, obstructing justice, and “subverting America’s Democracy.”