Could there be a secret GOP plan to dump Trump?
Alan Lichtman, an American University professor who has used a special system to correctly predict the president for the last thirty years, was a lone voice saying that Donald Trump would win the presidency this year. He also added that he believes Trump will be impeached. There are many who think Trump’s duplicitous business dealings, violations of the Constitution’s emolument clause, murky relationship with Russia or some kind of Executive Branch overreach will result in his impeachment and removal from office.
I think it’s next to impossible that a Republican congress is going to impeach and remove Donald J. Trump. The Republicans have proven that there is no un-American policy prescription, heinous action or words vile enough that would so offend their sensibilities that they’d place the nation before party. They’ve made this deal with the devil publicly and aren’t about to be the instrument of Trump’s downfall.
Not through impeachment and removal at least.
I have no proof that there is any dump Trump contingency plans by the Republican leadership but they would be fools if they haven’t gamed out what to do in various scenarios caused by the fact that their president doesn’t have the experience, temperament or competence to be commander in chief.
I suspect that in the event that Trump does something so egregious and destabilizing to our nation that his continuance in office would hurt the Republican Party, they would come to a decision to remove him using the mechanism of the 25th Amendment Section 4.”Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”
All it would take is Vice-President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet to agree that Trump is unable to perform his duties as commander in chief and after notifying Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Pence would become Acting-President. This would solve the Republicans’ political problem of getting rid of Trump without congressional members having to stick their necks out in an impeachment and senate trial.
However, Trump could dispute the action by notifying congressional leadership. If Pence and a majority of cabinet holders disagree with Trump, then the matter goes to congress to be resolved. Then it takes a two-thirds vote of both houses of congress to ratify Pence’s action and make him Acting-President.
Pence is far more to the Republican Party’s liking, obviously. He is a consistent conservative and as boring as they come. He isn’t likely to upset the way of things like Trump. With Pence they would get far right close-minded conservatism without the bombast, ridiculous tweeting, juvenile behavior, sexual misconduct, business corruption and destabilizing presence of Donald Trump.
But why wouldn’t the GOP congress impeach Trump if they’d have to vote to ratify Pence’s 25th Amendment action anyway? In impeachment, it is the House of Representatives itself that must bring the action. And it’s the Senate that must remove the president. It’s an easier vote if all you’re doing is ratifying someone else’s decision and, in the end, you’re not removing Trump as president technically. They’re just transferring presidential powers to Pence. It would be an easier sell than impeachment.
The Republican congress doesn’t have the integrity, testicular fortitude or statesmanship to impeach and remove. The 25th Amendment allows individual representatives and senators to point at the Vice-President and cabinet as perpetrators of the action in the face of outcry from Trump fans.
Of course to get two-thirds approval in both chambers of congress would require Democratic votes. And I think despite whatever horror Trump has visited upon the world, the Democrats may not be that eager to help the Republicans clean it up. And Democrats certainly don’t want to help Mike Pence become president. No, the Democrats in this scenario might decide to block Pence’s action and leave Trump as president, putting the onus back on the Republicans to impeach and remove him.
Now, while all of this sounds like fiction and that it could never happen outside of a Hollywood screenplay, a year ago we all thought President Trump would never happen.