EXPLAINER: Transfer of power under 25th Amendment
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s role in inciting violence at the Capitol and his long refusal to acknowledge his election defeat is prompting some lawmakers to urge his removal from office through the 25th Amendment.
The amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare a president unfit for office. The vice president then becomes acting president. The section of the amendment specifically addressing this procedure has never been invoked.
On Thursday, a day after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, called for Trump’s immediate removal. “What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer said.
In remarks posted on Twitter, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called on the Cabinet to invoke the amendment.
“The president is unfit. And the president is unwell,” Kinzinger said. He said Trump “must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily.”
Some questions and answers about the 25th Amendment:
WHY WAS IT PASSED?
The push for an amendment detailing presidential succession plans in the event of a president’s disability or death followed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. President Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1965 State of the Union promised to “propose laws to insure the necessary continuity of leadership should the President become disabled or die.” The amendment was passed by Congress that year and ratified in 1967.
HAS THE 25TH AMENDMENT BEEN INVOKED BEFORE?
Yes, presidents have temporarily given up power, but those instances have been generally been brief and voluntary, for example when the president was having a medical procedure.
In 2002, President George W. Bush became the first to use the amendment’s Section 3 to temporarily transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney while Bush was anesthetized for a colonoscopy. Section 4 of the amendment, which allow the Cabinet to declare the president unfit, has never been invoked.