By Patrick F. Cannon
I woke up this morning and Donald Trump was still president of the United States. Before this day is over and almost every day for the foreseeable future, he will say, do or tweet something that will make me cringe. It’s getting to be like “Ground Hog Day” for me and for many in our suffering country. Is there any way to end the agony?
Wishing. Despite our best hopes, I’m afraid “wishing won’t make it so.” I can imagine many among us, when blowing out the birthday candles, have wished he would go away. So far, no dice. This is not to say that a concerted, organized wishing campaign might not succeed in the long run. Perhaps it’s worth a try?
Impeachment. Since two presidents have been impeached, there is a little more hope here. Neither, however, was convicted by the Senate. For those of you who are confused by the process, the House of Representatives can vote articles of impeachment, but only a two-thirds vote by the Senate can remove a president from office (a few Federal judges have been convicted and removed from the bench). Andrew Johnson escaped conviction by one vote in 1868, while only 50 votes of the 67 needed could be mustered to convict Bill Clinton in 1999, no Democratic senator apparently believing that perjury and obstruction of justice were sufficient grounds for removing a member of the inclusive Democratic Party from office. If President Trump was ever impeached, one wonders if he could expect the same loyalty from the Republicans.
Resignation. Richard Nixon resigned in August 1974 when it became clear to him that his impeachment and removal from office had become inevitable. Many now hope that Special Counsel Robert Mueller III will uncover something about Trump and the Russians, or in his business past, that is clearly illegal, thus eventually forcing him to do the same. Mueller’s ability to prevent his team from leaking information about the course of his investigations has frustrated these hopes so far (see Wishing above).
Unfitness. Now we’re getting somewhere! I believe – a belief shared by many in both political parties — that Donald Trump is mentally and emotionally unfit to be president of the United States. While the psychiatric profession is increasingly loathe to declaring anyone actually insane, Trump is at the very least a paranoid narcissist, with serious delusions of grandeur. There is no room here to list the many examples of his strange behavior; suffice it to say that unless under legal oath, he is a chronic liar and will always blame others for his own mistakes and shortcomings.
To remove him from office for unfitness, under the terms of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the vice president and the majority of the cabinet would have to send a letter to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House testifying to their opinion that the president is unfit to serve. Both houses would then have to agree by a two-thirds vote. While I don’t see this happening in the short term, President Trump is fully capable of doing something so loony that even the far right of the Republican Party will come to their senses.
Mass Suicide (ours). Only if he get reelected in 2020.
So, take your pick, keeping in mind that he may well last out his term of office. If he does, let’s hope the Republican Party doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
Copyright 2017, Patrick F. Cannon