The disaster in Afghanistan is the last straw for an American public already weary and frustrated by President Biden’s short seven months in power.
While a slate of recent polls show a collapse in confidence in and approval of the President and his performance, a stunning July poll by Trafalgar/Convention of States found that a majority of Americans don’t think he is actually running the country. Unfortunately, Americans in the same month said they’re not thrilled about the prospect of a Kamala Harris presidency either. A whopping 64% don’t think she is ready to run the country.
But as the world crumbles and Mr. Biden sleeps through meetings with world leaders, it’s clear that we may not have a choice, which is why some are calling for Impeachment.
Using the Constitution to remove Mr. Biden from office is the correct way to do it.
It is the 25th Amendment and not impeachment that presents the proper constitutional mechanism to deal with President Joe Biden’s inability to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
Anyone watching President Biden knows he is unable to do the job.
Congress knows it, Americans watching the news know it, and Vice-President Harris and the cabinet know it.
Lying to themselves and the world so they could take power and hold onto it has now cost the lives of at least 13 of America’s finest; put countless American lives at risk; created the worst avoidable foreign policy debacle in our history; and has done immeasurable damage to America’s standing in the world.
Members of Congress are calling for the use of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, but they do not have the power to start the process. Only Vice-President Harris has the power to begin the process of invoking the 25th Amendment.
It is no secret the Biden and Harris camps are at odds, and she could see the stars aligning for her ambition and the proper, constitutional solution to work in tandem. The Democrat Party—knowing its chances for massive losses in 2022 and 2024 grows every day this disastrous Weekend at Bernie’s routine continues—is undoubtedly also looking for options.
The 25th Amendment was not added to the Constitution until 1967 after more than a decade of informal agreements between Presidents like Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson—and their Vice-Presidents—about how to handle a disability of the President. Before these agreements, White House staff had run administrations when the president was incapacitated—nearly three months after President Garfield was shot and more than seventeen months after President Wilson suffered a paralyzing stroke.
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment has never been used, except in movies and television shows. West Wing, House of Cards, 24, Homeland, Madam Secretary, and Designated Survivor have all tackled the process, but we’ve never seen it in real life. The closest we came was during President Reagan’s recovery after the 1981 assassination attempt, and many say it should have been done at that time.
If it is going to happen this time, how would it work?
First, Vice-president Harris and at least seven members of the “principal officers of the executive department” send a written declaration to Congress. At that time, Ms. Harris would immediately become the “acting president.” Importantly, and unknown to most, the only votes are the VP and the fifteen cabinet secretaries listed in 5 U.S.C 101, not the full cabinet listed on the White House website.
Next, if President Biden disagrees, he can send a declaration to Congress disputing the finding of inability. If Vice-president Harris and the principal officers resubmit their declaration within four days, the issue then goes to Congress.
At that juncture, Congress must convene within forty-eight hours, if not already in session, and decide the issue within twenty-one days. Two-thirds of both the House and the Senate must agree with the declaration of inability. Otherwise, the President resumes power.
If Congress votes to keep the 25th invoked, then Mr. Biden remains a sidelined president, and Ms. Harris continues as acting president, or Mr. Biden resigns. Ms. Harris becomes President and nominates a new vice president that both the House and the Senate must approve.
Most think it is impossible that Vice-President Harris, half of the core cabinet secretaries, and the Democrats in Congress would agree to sign on to such an unprecedented vote of no confidence in their own party’s President. But these political players tend to live by the polls and be shrewd and often ruthless protectors of their own power and the power of their party.
If they deduce that an obviously impaired President will lead them off the cliff into election disasters, they will seize the moment under the auspices of putting the good of the nation over the good of the party. We will all know their core motivation would be for the good of the Democrat party, but the result will be the same.
American voters are making a different calculation. While the majority of the country has expressed doubts about the Vice-President’s abilities to lead, it’s obvious that our current president’s incapacitation and inabilities are putting America’s national security and the security of our allies at great risk. For the sake of our nation’s future, Vice-President Harris should decide quickly.
• Rick Green is the founder of PatriotAcademy.com, an attorney and former Texas state legislator.