A Democratic lawmaker says he’s so concerned about Donald Trump’s ‘erratic behavior’ that he wants to revise the 25th Amendment in case the president demonstrates that he does not have the ‘mental and emotional capacity’ to do his job.
Oregon Congressman Ed Blumenauer, who represents the liberal city of Portland, says he sees a ‘glaring flaw’ in the wording of the amendment that was ratified in 1967 in response to JFK’s assassination.
Blumenauer is one of several Democrats suggesting that Trump’s unsupported statements about large-scale voter fraud and other issues are a reflection of his mental state.
Rep. Ted Lieu of California is working on legislation that would require a psychiatrist or psychologist to be on hand at the White House, The Hill reported.
Al Franken, a senator from Minnesota, revealed on a TV program that some Republicans in Congress have told him privately that Trump’s ‘not right mentally.’
The 25th amendment says in part that 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’ can demand the president’s removal from office if they decide he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties.’
Blumenauer said in a Wednesday op-ed that appeared on OregonLive.com that the amendment isn’t strong enough.
‘It has inherent flaws that need to be addressed. The amendment’s default decision-makers– the vice president and the cabinet — have a natural bias toward the existing officeholder that would make them reluctant to acknowledge the president’s inability to serve,’ he said.
‘Additionally, in the case of a president who is suffering from mental illness and is emotionally unstable or irrational, there is no fail safe to prevent him or her from simply firing the entire cabinet to prevent the application of the amendment.’
Blumenauer called attention to the issue again later that day on the House floor.
‘Like many people, I’ve noticed renewed interest in the 25th Amendment, as we’ve seen erratic behavior out of the White House and inability of Donald Trump to even tell whether it rained on him during his inaugural speech and repeating false statements that are demonstrably wrong,’ the Democrat said.
The Congressman has proposed a ‘fail-safe’ to ensure impartiality, should observers determine the president is ’emotionally unstable’ – a panel comprised of living presidents and vice presidents.
‘We need to have a mechanism that can be reliable, command public confidence and be above politics,’ he said.
In his op-ed Blumenauer said he was looking at legislation that would designate his proposed panel as the ‘other body’ capable of removing a sitting president.
Blumenauer insisted, when pressed by The Hill, that he was not saying that Trump is unwell.
‘All I’ve said is that this is strange behavior. It’s not normal in the circles I run in. And it raises questions. People can make their own diagnosis. I’m not.’
No other lawmakers have joined onto Blumenauer’s effort in public, but Franken, on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, said Republican legislators are privately concerned about President Trump.
‘Some will say that he’s not right mentally,’ Franken said last Friday to laughs. ‘And then some are harsher.’
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the Democrat about the statement in a follow-up interview on Sunday.
‘So I know that was comedy, but is it true that Republican colleagues of yours express concerns about President Trump’s mental health?’ he asked.
Franken answered in the affirmative.
‘A few,’ the senator said. ‘Yes. It’s not the majority of them. It’s a few.’
Their worries stem from Trump’s relationship with facts, he said.
‘He lies a lot. He says things that aren’t true. That’s the same as lying, I guess,’ Franken stated. ‘You know, three million to five million people voted illegally. There was a new one about people going in from Massachusetts to New Hampshire.’
Franken said, ‘That is not the norm for a president of the United States or actually for a human being.’
Approached by The Hill with Blumenauer and Franken’s statements, two Republican representatives responded with laughter.
‘Are you serious?’ Congressman Duncan Hunter asked the publication. ‘Yeah, I don’t care what they say,’ the California lawmaker added.
Mike Simpson of Idaho, said, ‘I think that’s a stretch.’
Simpson admitted, however, that Trump ‘behavior is somewhat disturbing.’
‘The concern I have — how do I say this and still be respectful? Every presidency, no matter who it is, there’s going to come a point in the presidency where you’re going to have to go to the American people and get their support for something,’ he told the inside-the-Beltway publication.
‘If this continues much longer, he’s going to lose the ability to rally those people.’