Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, asserted Friday that the 25th Amendment to the Constitution lets Congress remove “incompetent” presidents, and suggested that Congress use it as a tool to get rid of President Trump.
“Let me just explain,” she said on Fox Business. “The 25th Amendment is utilized when a president is perceived to be incompetent or unable to do his or her job.”
She later indicated that Trump’s failure to act quickly enough to counteract Russia’s election meddling is just one example indicating Trump’s incompetence.
“Our president has refused to acknowledge the interference of Russia in our election. We had as an NSA director someone who had been advised, or had been someone who had tried to diminish the sanctions that were rendered against Russia, because of the Russian election intrusion,” she said.
“And the acting deputy attorney general told the White House, and that individual was not fired for period of time.”
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) June 30, 2017
Jackson Lee’s interpretation of the 25th Amendment, however, appears to be an aggressive reading of the language, which is primarily in place to ensure succession of the vice president. The first two sections deal with the removal of the president due to his death or resignation, and the choosing of a new vice president.
Section 4 of the amendment allows the vice president and a majority of Cabinet officials to declare to Congress that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” However, that would require Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, to follow through on that decision, and there is no mention of dealing with a president who is “incompetent.”
The National Constitution Center says this section is the “most controversial” section of the 25th Amendment, since some argue it might be a tool for removing the president as part of a political dispute.
Still, Jackson Lee said Trump is “incompatible” with the White House.
“He is incompatible with the office and the leadership of this country,” she said. “And yes, the idea that his continuous assault on women only compounds the fact that I would ask him, it’s a job that he does not seemingly like, he needs to resign.”