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A blog by Leon Oudejans

Will Republicans use the 25th Amendment in 2019? (3)

11 January 2019


On 6 January 2019, Reuters reported that the 45th President was “in no hurry” to find permanent replacements for one-quarter of his Cabinet, currently serving in an acting capacity because it gives him “more flexibility.” Trump did not elaborate on why they give him more flexibility.

The simple explanation is that acting members do not require confirmation from the US Senate (Wiki). As Republicans have expanded their control of the Senate by 2 seats, it is unlikely that Trump’s candidates would be rejected with a “simple majority”. Hence, it’s unlikely that the flexibility argument relates to Senate confirmation hearings.

On 26 December 2018, Palmer Report came with a rather devious explanation: 

“Even if Donald Trump is trying to rapidly swap out his cabinet in the hope of avoiding being removed via the 25th Amendment, his plan still has shortcomings. Because such an ouster has never been tried, it’s not even clear if “acting” cabinet members would be allowed to vote. But even by simply taking a few votes off the table, Trump would be shifting the math in his favor.” (PR)

Initially, I ignored Palmer Report’s explanation because they are extremely critical on the 45th President. However, Trump’s argument about “more flexibility” made me reconsider my earlier assessment. As I’ve noted before: never underestimate Trump’s strive for survival.

Mid 2017, Quora featured this question: “Which Cabinet members can vote to declare the President incompetent as described in the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution?” I refer to Quora for its interesting exlanation on “principal officers of the executive departments”.

Hence, it seems quite likely that unconfirmed and acting Cabinet members can also vote on (not) invoking the 25th Amendment. Unconfirmed acting Cabinet members would fit the description of “principal officers of the executive departments”.

I think, feel and believe that Trump has been – perhaps even actively – selecting unconfirmed acting Cabinet members. Trump expects that they will protect him against other Cabinet members who may try invoking the 25th Amendment against him.

The not-withdrawal of US troops from Syria puts the recent resignation of former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in a different light. His resignation removed an important person who might have triggered the 25th Amendment against Trump.

I must admit that this strategy may actually work as long as Trump’s trust in these acting Cabinet members will pay off (sic!).

Dirty Laundry (1982) by Don Henley

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

I make my living off the evening news

Just give me something, something I can use

People love it when you lose

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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