House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Thursday press conference that Democrats plan to discuss the 25th Amendment, the constitutional provision that deals with replacing a president, on Friday.
.@SpeakerPelosi: “Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow. We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 8, 2020
The amendment was added to the Constitution in the 1960s after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, in order to clarify the rules for replacing a deceased or incapacitated president. It allows for the vice president and members of the Cabinet to remove a president who is unable to carry out the duties of office, with provisions for handling a dispute between the president and other officials about whether the president is fit for office.
Pelosi didn’t specify exactly what Democrats plan to discuss about the amendment, but, as The Hill reports, the discussion arose as she critiqued President Trump for not revealing more about his coronavirus diagnosis and the outbreak involving the White House. Pelosi declined to say whether she felt the amendment should be invoked to suspend Trump from office, but she later suggested that he might be in an “altered state” because of the drugs he’s been prescribed for COVID-19.
It seems unlikely the amendment will be invoked without a further change in the president’s health, since it requires either the president or the vice president to declare the president medically unfit. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have said Trump is in good health after his treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
It’s not the first time the topic has come up during Trump’s term in office. Two years ago, The New York Times reported that Rod Rosenstein—then the deputy U.S. attorney general—discussed recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment. At the time, Rosenstein denied the report.