Spanish – On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, announced that she would implement legislation to replace the president for health reasons. Doubts are growing over whether she will replace Joe Biden if he wins the election.
“This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of the voters. But it shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents,” Pelosi told reporters on Friday.
If presidential candidate Joe Biden wins, he would be the oldest president in U.S. history at 78 years old.
During the first debate between the vice-presidential candidates, the moderator emphasized the age of the Democratic candidate and asked Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, if she had a plan in case Biden was unable to serve due to health reasons. Harris did not answer the question.
Meanwhile, 38% of Americans believe that Biden suffers from some form of dementia, as he raves in his speeches and often confuses names, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution
Nancy Pelosi proposed the creation of the Presidential Capacity Commission, which is in the process of transferring presidential power under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
This amendment has not been applied since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, thus empowering the government of his vice president and successor Lyndon B. Johnson.
The legislation would create the commission “to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office of the executive branch of government,” Pelosi said in a press release.
President Trump responded promptly. He said on social networks that “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” is looking at the 25th amendment to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris. 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
“A president’s fitness for office must be determined by science and fact,” Pelosi said.
While noting that “this legislation applies to future presidents,” she stressed that the health of the current president is a reminder of the need for action.
At a press conference, several asked why the Speaker of the House would unveil legislation less than a month before Election Day.
Jamie Raskin, a constitutional scholar and member of the Democratic leadership team in the House of Representatives, introduced the bill that establishes a commission on presidential ability to discharge the powers and duties of the office. Pelosi supported it.
On the one hand, Democrats say they are simply establishing a constitutionally authorized process that should have been codified long ago, but is especially needed now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans warn takeover by the Democrats
On the other hand, Republicans believe that Pelosi is continuing the effort that began with the impeachment of President Donald Trump. And others suggest that Pelosi is pointing out that Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19, is not fit to hold office.
Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler announced that she would file a resolution condemning Nancy Pelosi for “politicizing the 25th Amendment.” Loeffler called the bill a Democratic takeover.
“Today’s announcement by Speaker Pelosi is just her latest scheme to attack President Donald J. Trump. From the day President Trump was sworn in, Nancy Pelosi has tried to overturn the results of the 2016 election,” she said in a statement.
“From the Russia collusion hoax to the sham impeachment and now the 25th Amendment farce, Nancy Pelosi has disgraced the office of Speaker in a desperate attempt to rig the system and seize power. If she is still serious about holding office, she should put a mask on, hit the salon, and respect the election results when Donald Trump is re-elected for four more years,” Loeffler said.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution gives authority to the Vice President to replace the President if the latter “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Most people are familiar with the part of the 25th Amendment that allows the Vice President and a majority of the presidential cabinet to determine whether the President is unfit to serve, but also delegates that authority to “such other body as Congress may establish.”
Raskin’s proposed legislation would establish such a body: a 17-member commission composed of four doctors, four psychiatrists, and eight former high-ranking executive officers appointed by the congressional leadership of both parties. The final member would be selected by the other 16 to serve as chairman of the commission.
The commission would “conduct a medical examination of the president to determine whether he is mentally or physically incapable of fulfilling the powers and duties of the office,” according to the text.
The president could refuse the examination, but the committee would be authorized to include that in its decision.
If the committee determines that the president is unfit to perform his executive duties, the vice president shall take over.