BY: LAURA JULIA FLEISCHMANN
After an unprecedented and deplorable insurrection at the United States Capitol yesterday, January 6th, a question about the 25th amendment is being posed. To truly understand what the calls for the 25th amendment to be used against President Trump mean, we must get to the basics of what the amendment is. The four sections of the 25th amendment outline the relationship in government between the President and the Vice President. Section 4 of the 25th amendment is the most crucial section to look at in terms of what is occurring. This section essentially states that if a majority of the cabinet members and the Vice-President decide 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.” This is unlike an impeachment because it is the cabinet, not Congress, fulfilling this duty. Moreover, impeachment is less likely as there are two steps to it and it takes more time as well as work.
The question now is if blame for what happened at the Capitol on Wednesday can be placed on Donald Trump and used as the basis for removal via the 25th amendment. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and many other Democrats have already called for the Cabinet and Vice President Pence to use the 25th amendment. Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois was one of the few Republican representatives to call for the use of the 25th amendment. This comes as various Trump staffers and members of the administration have resigned since yesterday’s events. According to the Washington Post, “Several sources reported that Cabinet members were actively discussing invoking Section 4, effectively replacing President Trump with Vice President Pence.” If this were to occur, it would be the first time in United States history that this amendment has been used to permanently remove a sitting president. However, there is no guarantee or rule that citizens must know if it is invoked. Some conspiracies on Twitter have claimed it already has been because it was Pence, not Trump, who gave the order for the National Guard.
All eyes are on the cabinet and Vice-President Pence to see if they will or already have taken this step.