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Home / Tips and Tricks / The 25th Amendment: What It Is, Why Some Want It, What It Means to Trump

The 25th Amendment: What It Is, Why Some Want It, What It Means to Trump


President Donald Trump has been in office for less than two weeks. That is still too long for some outspoken critics.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Getty Images

Hours after the Capitol was besieged on Wednesday by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, some lawmakers, cabinet members and a U.S. trade group have called on their colleagues to start the 25th amendment process because of the role they say Trump played in instigating the illegal siege.

Talks about Trump’s impeachment also began to circulate in the early hours of the Capitol breach, as Congressmen were transported to the security of a secret location under the protection of Capitol police, while Representative Ilhan Omar tweeted that she had articles of impeachment. drafted. If passed, the move would represent Trump’s second impeachment by Congress during his elected tenure, with just two weeks until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. It would also be the second time that lawmakers have spoken of invoking the 25th Amendment.

Ahead of the impeachment talks, Trump administration officials said Vice President Mike Pence had approved an order to deploy the Washington DC National Guard. Traditionally, this power has been reserved only to the president.


A gang besieged the Capitol on Wednesday.

Samuel Corum / Stringer / Getty Images

After a statement by Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller saying he had spoken to Pence, several House Democrats began urging Pence to take action. If the 25th amendment were to be adopted, Pence would take over the chair.

So what does the 25th amendment say? Why is it so important, and how likely is it to be implemented? Here’s What You Should Know.

read more: Mob Storms Capitol As Facebook, Twitter Roles Coming Under Fire

What is the 25th Amendment?

In its simplest explanation, the 25th Amendment contains four sections and relates to the president’s ability to perform the duties of the presidency and what happens in the event that the commander-in-chief is no longer able to do his or her job. The amendment allows the vice president to temporarily become president, allowing for a smooth transfer of power in an emergency.

The amendment also says that the president can appoint a vice president if there is a vacancy.

The part of the 25th Amendment now under discussion generally relates to paragraph 4, allowing the Vice President and a majority of either the Office of Presidents or members of Congress to declare in writing to the President of the Senate , pro tempore and speaker of the House that the meeting president is unable to perform the duties of the office. This immediately makes the vice president the acting president.

However, the current president can reverse this effort of the vice president and Congress by declaring himself fit in official written form. From there, the vice president and those backing the impeachment have four days to disagree, or the incumbent president resumes the presidency. If they disagree, Congress can settle the matter with a vote.

President Donald Trump speaks during a 60-minute interview recorded and published by the White House.

In the closing days of Trump’s presidency, there has been talk of attempts to hold him accountable for Wednesday’s riot.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland / CNET

Why are lawmakers urging Pence to use the amendment?

As events unfolded on Capitol Hill, lawmakers, Trump’s business supporters and voters began demanding that the president be removed from office. After speaking at a nearby rally, Trump told his assembled supporters that “[w]We will never give up, we will never give in. Trump’s tweets, many of which have now been deleted or blocked, later continued to spur the crowd.

“We’re going down Pennsylvania Avenue … and we’re going to the Capitol,” Trump said at the meeting. Then supporters marched to the Capitol, where they later broke through barricades and entered the building. Hours passed as voters and lawmakers urged Trump to call on the crowd to resign.

Trump eventually issued a brief, recorded statement telling the rioters to go home and calling them “special people,” while continuing to spread false allegations of voter fraud, as he has for months.

As night fell, social media cracked down on Trump with Twitter flagging and deleting multiple tweets. In addition, the site hit Trump with a temporary suspension. Facebook and Instagram followed.

“We have reviewed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page that will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will no longer be able to post to the platform during that time,” Facebook tweeted.


President Donald Trump delivered a speech on Wednesday that many believe prompted the crowd to storm the Capitol.

Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

Otherwise, when was the 25th Amendment on Trump discussed?

This isn’t the first time the 25th Amendment has been mentioned during Trump’s presidency. On October 1, Trump announced on Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Shortly afterwards, he was hospitalized, given oxygen and treated with a potent drug known to have “euphoric” side effects.

Following his diagnosis of the coronavirus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation that would allow Congress to enact the 25th Amendment should Trump become incapacitated, though she maintained at the time that the legislation was not specifically targeting Trump.

When he was released from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump, while still under the supervision of a doctor and the steroid dexamethasone, abruptly stopped negotiating stimulus checks, only to recover them hours later, and offered a stimulus package. that eventually hissed. At the time, Congressional Democrats were discussing an appeal for the 25th Amendment but not putting it to the vote.

Last Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee Democrats wrote a letter to Pence urging him to call for the change.

“In the interests of our democracy, we strongly urge you to invoke the 25th Amendment and begin the process to remove President Trump from office,” said the letter led by Representatives David Cicilline (Rhode Island). ) and Ted Lieu (California).


When the 25th Amendment goes into effect, Vice President Mike Pence will take over as Commander in Chief.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

How would the 25th amendment be used?

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment says:

Whenever the vice president and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive divisions or of any other body that Congress may determine by law, they shall send pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written statement that the president is incapable of fulfilling the powers and duties of his office, the vice president immediately assumes the powers and duties of the office of acting president. “

The “chief officers of the executive departments” refer to the 16 secretaries within the President’s Office. Pence would need eight or more to join him in a written statement about the president’s inability to fulfill his duties.

In the event that the 25th Amendment is used, it would mean Pence fulfilling Trump’s exited presidency and also giving Pence the option to appoint a new vice president. Trump could declare to the Speaker of the House and the Senate pro tempore that he has “no inability” to rule. At that point, it would be up to Congress to decide on the matter within 21 days, which would exceed the January 20 date for President-elect Joe Biden to take office.

Has the 25th Amendment ever been used before?

Section 4, the portion referenced throughout the week, was never executed and only came close once during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Congress passed the 25th Amendment in 1965. It was ratified and certified as an amendment the following year by President Lyndon Johnson.

The first use of the other sections of the 25th Amendment was in 1973 when President Richard Nixon nominated Gerald Ford after Vice President Spiro Agnew stepped down. The amendment was used again when Nixon stepped down and Ford assumed the presidency. Ford also used the amendment when he chose Nelson Rockefeller to serve for the vice presidency.

Most recently, President George W. Bush twice invoked the 25th Amendment to temporarily transfer the powers of the presidency to Vice President Dick Cheney while Bush underwent a colonoscopy under anesthesia – first in 2002 and then again in 2007. His father, then Deputy President George HW Bush, received the 25th amendment authority from President Ronald Regan in 1985.

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