Could the 25th Amendment be used to remove Trump because he's 'unfit for office'?

David Harding
Impeach or the 25th Amendment? (Rex)

Under fire US President Donald Trump is facing calls for his impeachment in the wake of his alleged links to Russia.

The calls have become so loud and consistent that it may already be too late for anyone fancying a flutter on his fate to lay a bet – though Trump calls it a witch-hunt.

But impeachment is a long process and, for his opponents, by no means certain of success.

Only two presidents have ever been impeached.

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Impeachment as set out in the US Constitution requires that the president should be removed from office for reasons of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.

But one critic thinks some should forget about impeachment and try a new approach – the 25th Amendment.

Writing in the New York Times, author, blogger and columnist Ross Douthat argues that this might be a more effective way of pushing the president out of office.

The 25th Amendment allows for the removal of the president if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet informs the Congress that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”, writes Douthat.

And Trump’s behaviour proves that he is unfit for office, argues Douthat.

A protester calling for Trump to be kicked out of office (Rex)

“He has not endured an assassination attempt or suffered a stroke or fallen prey to Alzheimer’s,” he writes.

“But his incapacity to really govern, to truly execute the serious duties that fall to him to carry out, is nevertheless testified to daily — not by his enemies or external critics, but by precisely the men and women whom the Constitution asks to stand in judgment on him, the men and women who serve around him in the White House and the cabinet.”

He goes on to say that his critics regard him as a child, intellectually void and a threat to national security – in only the fourth month of his presidency.

“The presidency is not just another office,” he writes.

“It has become, for good reasons and bad ones, a seat of semi-monarchical political power, a fixed place on which unimaginable pressures are daily brought to bear, and the final stopping point for decisions that can lead very swiftly to life or death for people the world over.

He continued: “And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.

“Trump is seemingly deficient in them all.”