Time for the 25th Amendment


by: Betsy McCaughey
Published: July 10, 2024

 

President Joe Biden is incapable of governing. Americans can see it, and perilously our adversaries can too. The U.S. Constitution spells out a remedy in the 25th Amendment. But a constitution is just a piece of paper, only as good as the people who have taken an oath to live by it. For the 25th Amendment to work requires selfless patriotism -- something lacking in the Biden administration.

Biden is surrounded by rogues -- including Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who swore to support the Constitution but are defying it. Their attempts to hide Biden's disability are a national disgrace.

The 25th Amendment says a president unable to serve can either voluntarily transfer authority to the Vice President or be removed at the instigation of the Vice President.

On Friday, in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, the president doubled down, insisting he is the most capable person for the job and will run for reelection. A growing number of top Democratic officeholders and party bigwigs are calling on bumbling Biden to drop out of the race to prevent a wipeout at the polls. But the party's fate in November is not the most important issue. Biden is unfit to run the country now.

The 25th Amendment is designed to swiftly rescue the nation from this dangerous situation -- an incapable president clinging to power. The process begins with the vice president and Cabinet declaring the president "unable to fulfill the powers and duties of his office." The vice president becomes acting president. If the president disagrees and reclaims his authority within four days, the decision shifts to Congress, which can remove the president with a vote of two-thirds of both chambers.

That's the process. But it depends on patriots, not partisan hacks.

In January, Garland's Special Counsel Robert Hur reported that although Biden had broken the law by mishandling classified documents, the president was too much of a doddering old fool -- in Hur's words, an "elderly man with a poor memory" -- to stand trial.

When House Republicans asked for the audio tapes of Hur's conversations with Biden, Garland was so determined to hide Biden's stammering, confused speech that he defied a Congressional subpoena. The attorney general broke the law to conceal the president's incapacity.

Fast-forward half a year. After Biden's alarming debate performance, U.S. Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Clay Higgins (R-La.) called on Harris to use her powers under the 25th Amendment to convene the Cabinet and "respond to this moment of crisis by gently removing President Biden" from office.

Instead, Harris is covering up, telling CNN's Anderson Cooper that Biden is "extraordinarily strong."

Some will reject using the 25th Amendment, arguing that an acting President Harris will be more dangerous than doddering Joe. But at least the nation will get to assess our DEI vice president in the top job on a trial basis before the November election.

The 25th Amendment was drafted in 1965, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and with concerns still fresh about the numerous illnesses of his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower.

When Congress debated the amendment, not everyone was convinced Cabinet members would dare defy a sitting president, no matter how incapacitated. But former Sen. Everett Dirksen argued that during "a monumental national crisis ... those charged with responsibility will do what is in the public interest."

The Biden administration is failing that test.

Before the 25th Amendment, concealing presidential weakness was a recurring problem, because those closest to the president didn't want to lose power. When James Garfield was wounded by an assassin in 1881, his Cabinet kept his incapacity secret for over two months until he died of the wound.

After Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, his wife, Edith, his physician and his private secretary kept mum and ran the country for 17 months.

Jill Biden is doing the same, the 25th Amendment be damned. Since the debate, Biden's circle appears to have shrunk to his wife, her advisor Anthony Bernal, whom she dubs her "work husband," speechwriter Mike Donilon and, most importantly, Hunter Biden. The first son is acting as his father's gatekeeper.

The addled president is in a bunker, a dangerous situation for the nation.

Gracing the cover of Vogue, the first lady is quoted saying, "We will decide our future."

Outrageous. The impaired president and his wife should not be able to hold onto power, endangering the national interest. Americans adopted the 25th Amendment for a crisis like this one.

For God's sake, demand that Harris, Garland and other senior officials do their constitutional duty.

 

  Huntington Beach News


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