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Trump outraged by Democrats’ plan to assess president’s fitness to serve

Democrats provoked an angry tirade from Donald Trump on Friday by proposing a congressional commission to assess whether US presidents are capable of performing their duties or should be removed from office.



a group of people sitting at a table: Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

The gambit came a week after Trump was flown to a military hospital for treatment for coronavirus and 25 days before an election. The president returned to the White House on Monday but has caused concern with erratic behaviour.

Related: Trump unlikely to travel for rally while Pelosi says medication has him ‘in an altered state’ – live

“This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of the voters but he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents,” Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, told a press conference in which she also took a swipe at the British prime minister, Boris Johnson.



a group of people sitting at a table: The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Representative Jamie Raskin introduce legislation to create 25th amendment commission in Washington on Friday.


© Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Representative Jamie Raskin introduce legislation to create 25th amendment commission in Washington on Friday.

But the timing was impossible to ignore as Trump has continued to give rambling TV interviews, tweet false and contradictory statements and potentially endanger his own White House staff by defying public health guidance.

The president tweeted in response: “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!!!”

The 25th amendment to the US constitution provides the procedure for the vice-president to take over the duties of president if he or she dies or resigns or it is determined that he or she cannot fulfill the functions of the office.

The Democratic congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, introducing the legislation on Friday, said: “The 25th amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office.

“Now, it’s never been necessary, but the authors of the 25th amendment thought it essential in the nuclear age to have a safety valve option and, as they often said, we have 535 members of Congress but we only have one president.”

He added: “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 has made no provisions for the temporary transfer of power? This situation is what demands action.”

This panel would be known as the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office. Raskin, a constitutional law professor, said it would be bipartisan and consist of 17 members, including medical personnel, and could only act in concert with the vice-president.

Asked about the timing of the bill, Raskin explained “this situation has focused everyone’s mind” on the 25th amendment.

Pelosi repeated her insistence that it did not

Pelosi To Propose Panel To Assess Trump’s Fitness For Duty

“We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, previewing legislation she plans to introduce that would create a commission to evaluate President Donald Trump’s health and ability to serve as president.


AP:
In 25th Amendment Bid, Pelosi Mulls Trump’s Fitness To Serve


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is questioning President Donald Trump’s fitness to serve, announcing legislation Thursday that would create a commission to allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and remove the president from executive duties. Just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, Pelosi said Trump needs to disclose more about his health after his COVID-19 diagnosis. She noted Trump’s “strange tweet” halting talks on a new coronavirus aid package — he subsequently tried to reverse course — and said Americans need to know when, exactly, he first contracted COVID as others in the White House became infected. On Friday, she plans to roll out the legislation that would launch the commission for review. (Mascaro, 10/8)


The Washington Post:
Citing 25th Amendment, Pelosi, Raskin Move To Create Panel That Could Rule On President’s Fitness For Office 


The panel would be called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the offices of Pelosi and Raskin said in a statement announcing the move. The 25th Amendment formalizes that the vice president takes over the duties of the presidency in the event of a president’s death, inability to perform his duties or resignation from office. It also lays out a process by which a sitting president may be removed from office. Congress’s role in this, however, is limited.(Sonmez, 10/8)

Work on a COVID-relief bill drags on —


Politico:
Pelosi Signals No Relief For Airlines Without Bigger Covid Deal


Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to move a standalone coronavirus bailout for airlines unless the administration also agrees to a broader stimulus package, sowing further confusion in the already tangled talks that have dragged on since early summer. “I have been very open to having a single standalone bill for the airlines or part of a bigger bill. But there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly news conference. (Caygle, Ferris and Mintz, 10/8)

Pelosi eyes 25th Amendment panel to assess presidential capacity

Pelosi plans to introduce legislation to create a commission as outlined under the 25th Amendment to assess the president’s capacity to hold office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled legislation Friday that would allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove the president, insisting it’s not about President Donald Trump but inspired by the need for greater congressional oversight of his White House.

Pelosi has been raising questions about Trump’s mental fitness since his COVID-19 diagnosis and demanding more transparency about his health. The bill would set up a commission to assess the president’s ability to lead the country and ensure a continuity of government. It comes one year after Pelosi’s House launched impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“This is not about President Donald Trump — he will face the judgment of the voters,” Pelosi said at a press conference at the Capitol.

Just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, with no hopes of the bill becoming law, the rollout was quickly dismissed as a stunt by Trump’s team and top allies.

“It’s an absurd proposal,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Fox.

“Absolutely absurd,” said Senate Majority Leader McConnell during an appearance in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

The president’s opponents have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment for some time, but are raising it now, so close to Election Day, as the campaigns are fast turning into a referendum on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.


Pelosi said Trump needs to disclose more about his health after his COVID-19 diagnosis and when, exactly, he first contracted COVID as others in the White House have become infected. More than 210,000 Americans have died and millions more have tested positive for the virus, which shows no signs of abating heading into what public health experts warn will be a difficult flu season and winter.

The legislation that would create a commission as outlined under the 25th Amendment, which was passed by Congress and ratified in 1967 as a way to ensure a continuity of power in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

It says the vice president and a majority of principal officers of the executive departments “or of such other body as Congress” may by law provide a declaration to Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” At that point, the vice president would immediately assume the powers of acting president.

“Let Congress exert the power the Constitution gave us,” Pelosi said Friday standing before a poster of the amendment.

Pelosi was joined by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a constitutional scholar, who has proposed similar bills in the past.

“In times of chaos we must hold fast to our Constitution,” he said Friday.

Raskin said the commission would be launched “only for the most extreme situations.”

But, as Congress showed by impeaching — and acquitting the president over the past year — the legislative branch is determined to exert itself at times as a check on