After months of outrageous comments and policy decisions, there are plenty of people who are beginning to question, could Trump's mental health get him removed from office? And at least a few of them are in Congress. Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, introduced a resolution on Aug. 18 calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the rest of the Cabinet to get President Donald Trump's mental health checked out ASAP.
In a press release about the resolution, Lofgren asked a number of questions familiar to many people who have been watching Trump's presidency, including his needling of North Korea or refusal to denounce white supremacy, with horror:
Does the President suffer from early stage dementia? Has the stress of office aggravated a mental illness crippling impulse control? Has emotional disorder so impaired the President that he is unable to discharge his duties? Is the President mentally and emotionally stable?
The resolution cites the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress and the Cabinet the power to remove the president if he or she is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” in which case “the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.” The Amendment was added to the Constitution after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, when the government realized there was no formal plan for what happened if a president wasn't killed, but just incapacitated.
In recent weeks, the decades-old Amendment has gotten a lot of attention.
After some of Donald Trump's most outrageous statements or policy moves, critics frequently begin wondering if he's mentally capable of doing the job of the president — in early July, after Trump tweeted a video of him beating up on a personified CNN logo, the hashtag #25thAmendmentNow started circulating on Twitter (where it reportedly ticked off the POTUS to no end).
Now, Lofgren is citing exactly that kind of outrageous behavior. The one-page resolution declares,
President Donald J. Trump has exhibited an alarming pattern of behavior and speech causing concern that a mental disorder may have rendered him unfit and unable to fulfill his Constitutional duties … the House of Representatives urges the Vice President and the Cabinet to quickly secure the services of medical and psychiatric professionals to examine the President to assist in their deliberations under the 25th Amendment to determine whether the President suffers from mental disorder or other injury that impairs his abilities and prevents him from discharging his Constitutional duties.”
It goes further. The resolution also,
strongly encourages the Vice President and the Cabinet to take immediate action pursuant to the 25th Amendment and report to Congress as outlined in that Amendment.
That's because Trump can't actually be removed until Pence and at least eight Cabinet members agree to suggest that he might not be fit to carry out his job — so it's essentially out of Congress' hands.
Lofgren isn't the only one to suggest that Trump might not be capable. Besides Twitter, a number of Democrats were openly questioning the president's mental health less than a month after he took office, according to The Hill. And back in April, Rep. Earl Blumenthal, a Democrat from Oregon, introduced legislation to try to make it easier to remove a president under the 25th Amendment.
Of course, we haven't seen any of these go anywhere yet. So will Lofgren get lucky?
We'll have to wait and see.