House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced a bill on Friday invoking the 25th Amendment to establish a commission that will assess the president’s capacity to hold office that will allow Congress to intervene, insisting it’s not about President Trump’s despite questioning his fitness to serve.
“This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of voters. But he shows the need to create a process for future presidents,” Pelosi said Friday morning unveiling the legislation. “This bill honors the duty by strictest creating a standing commission of top former executive officials and medical experts selected in a bipartisan, bicameral way. A president’s fitness for all of us must be determined by science and facts.”
Dubbed the “Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office,” the permanent body would consist of 17 members — 8 of those will consist of medical professionals of doctors, and psychiatrists with another 8 being former elected officials who will have the authority to request a medical exam to make the determination about whether a president was fit for office.
“Let Congress exert the power the Constitution gave us,” Pelosi said standing next to a poster of the amendment. “This legislation applies to future presidents, but we are reminded of the necessity of action by the health of the current president. It’s not about any of us making a judgment about the president’s well-being.”
Pelosi has repeatedly questioned Trump’s health following his coronavirus diagnosis as well as his behavior since being released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday.
“The public needs to know the health condition of the president,” Pelosi said Thursday while teasing the legislation during a news conference.
During an interview with Bloomberg News, the House Speaker accused Trump who is still recovering from COVID of being “in an altered state” from the medication and that “there may be some impairment of judgment.”
When pressed by reporters if she is invoking the 25th Amendment as a political coup, Pelosi denied such a claim, saying “That’s not for us to decide.”
“It’s not about the election at all,” Pelosi claimed. “Again, this isn’t about any judgment anybody has on anybody’s behavior. This is about a diagnosis, a professional medical diagnosis.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a constitutional scholar and the bill author joined Pelosi for the unveiling of the bill said the commission under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment has yet to be set up despite the amendment being adopted 50 years ago.
“In times of chaos, we must hold fast to our Constitution,” Raskin said. “The 25th Amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office. Section 4 deals with the problem of a president who becomes incapacitated, but has made no provision to temporarily transfer powers.”
When asked why Democrats were introducing the bill now with the election being just 3 and a half weeks away, Raskin stated there was never a good time to introduce such legislation, but “this situation has focused everyone’s mind.”
“In the age of COVID-19, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans and now ravaged the White House staff, the wisdom of the 25th Amendment is clear. What happens if a president any president ends up in a coma or on a ventilator and is made no provisions for the temporary transfer of power?” Raskin said.
Republicans slammed Pelosi, calling her actions a political stunt.
“That’s absurd. Absolutely absurd,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in Kentucky. “Again, right here in his last three weeks before the election, I think those kinds of wild comments should be largely discounted.”
Trump took to Twitter shortly after and suggested that the bill was meant for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should he win the general election.
“Crazy Nancy Pelosi is looking at the 25th Amendment in order to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris,” Trump tweeted. “The Dems want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of it!!!”
Crazy Nancy Pelosi is looking at the 25th Amendment in order to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris. The Dems want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of it!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2020
The legislation stands no chance of being enacted, with Congress on recess and the Republican-controlled Senate controlled currently consumed with confirming the Supreme Court nominee before the Nov 3rd election.