Democratic Support For 25th Amendment Bill Unrealistic

Democratic Support For 25th Amendment Bill Unrealistic Promo Image

The number of House Democrats backing a bill that would set up an oversight commission tasked with reviewing the mental and physical health of President Donald Trump is growing.

The initiative was started in April by Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, but has gained ground following recent tweets by Trump, NBC News reported.

Some Democrats argue that Trump's criticism of "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski and his posting of a video showing him wrestling with someone whose face was covered by a CNN logo demonstrate he is unfit for office. However, constitutional experts are not so sure.

Scholars Jonathan Turley and Gloria Browne-Marshall told CNN that the 25th Amendment has only been used in the past in cases of physical incapacity and it would be "premature" and nearly impossible to apply it to mental or emotional instability.

"Critics calling our bill to create the 'body' called for in the 25th Amendment 'premature' are inviting Congress to wait for a full-blown crisis to arrive in this presidency or the next before we act," a statement from Raskin to CNN said in response. "That passive approach defeats the whole design of the Framers of the 25th Amendment."

Image placeholder title

Raskin has the support of a growing number of his colleagues, although they remain in the minority. Two dozen Democrats had signed the bill by June 29.

"Given Donald Trump's continued erratic and baffling behavior, is it any wonder why we need to pursue this legislation," Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Florida told NBC News. "The mental and physical health of the leader of the United States and the free world is a matter of great public concern."

The commission Raskin is proposing to establish would have the power to examine whether Trump -- or any other president -- "is temporarily or permanently impaired by physical illness or disability, mental illness, mental deficiency, or alcohol or drug use to the extent that the person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to execute the powers and duties of the office of President."

The 25th Amendment was adopted in 1967, four years after the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.

Image placeholder title

"We've got to make sure that we have a president who is able faithfully to discharge the duties of office," Raskin said to CNN. "This is not just for one president -- it's for all of the presidents. And I think we can come together in a bipartisan way."

The White House did not respond to requests for comment from CNN or NBC on the bill.

Browne-Marshall told CNN that proving mental incapacity would be "very difficult." Even if a commission found Trump to be mentally incapacitated, he would merely have to reject the findings. Both houses of Congress would then have to vote by a two-thirds majority to transfer power to the vice president, currently Mike Pence.

"As ambiguous as mental health determinations are anyways, it would take well beyond what we have seen, so far, for Congress to come together in that way," added Browne-Marshall.

Sources: NBC News, CNN / Photo credit: Andrea Hanks via Wikimedia Commons, US Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia Commons, D. Myles Cullen via Wikimedia Commons

Popular Video