An “elderly man with a poor memory.”
That line and many others from special counsel Robert Hur’s report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents released on Thursday now hang over his presidency.
From not remembering when he was vice president to forgetting when his term ended to failing to come up with the year his son Beau died, “even within several years,” the report paints a disturbing picture of a man in severe mental decline.
Hur’s description of Biden’s mental state may have been used to justify not prosecuting the president for his illegal mishandling of classified documents, but it can hardly give Americans confidence in the man now running for a second presidential term.
If Biden is like this, it’s fair to ask who is actually running the executive branch?
Despite all the efforts by the Biden administration and its sycophantic media to cover for the president, questions about Biden’s fitness for office are now out in the open and impossible to dismiss.
Given Biden’s angry, combative, and hardly reassuring press conference on Thursday evening following the release of the report that included even more bizarre mental lapses, it seems the president is unlikely to resign.
Questions are now being asked: What can be done to remove a president unfit for office?
Here’s my rundown of four options that have been floated to remove Biden.
Using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office has been the option most discussed following the release of the special prosecutor’s documents.
A few Republican lawmakers have already demanded that Biden’s Cabinet invoke this potential remedy.
The numbers are growing. Though so far, no Democrats have made similar 25th Amendment or resignation calls.
Democrat politicians along with news commentators and anchors on corporate media news channels relentlessly talked about using this amendment to produce something like a deus ex machina to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Of course, 25th Amendment analyses from serious-sounding Ivy League doctors discussing the president’s unfitness for office have notably disappeared from CNN’s programing now that Biden occupies the White House.
So, what exactly is the 25th Amendment?
The states ratified it in 1967 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy after questions were raised about what to do in instances where a president is incapacitated.
In an age in which communication is instant and a president is expected to be able to make large, potentially world-changing decisions on a moment’s notice, it seemed like there needed to be some kind of mechanism to ensure that the country always had a chief executive.
The 25th Amendment allows the vice president and the Cabinet to submit to Congress their recommendation that the president is unfit for duty and the vice president must step in immediately to take up the president’s responsibilities.
Here is the critical 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.
Putting this into effect requires a two-thirds vote by both houses of Congress if the president disputes the opinion of the Cabinet members.
The 25th Amendment has been used on a few occasions. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush used it when they had medical operations that would leave them incapacitated for several hours.
The problem is that the 25th Amendment is more of a Band-Aid for an acute problem rather than a permanent solution. Given Biden’s long-term decline, is it likely that his Cabinet members and Democrats in Congress are now going to sign off on a permanent removal a year before an election?
It’s worth noting that one of the people making this decision would be Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a man who suddenly disappeared for a few days in January to get cancer treatments without notifying the president or pretty much anyone else in the executive branch.
Another solution to presidential unfitness for office that’s been floated is impeachment.
In a certain sense, there is a lower threshold to impeach a president than to remove him through the 25th Amendment. It requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict the president but only a majority vote in the House to impeach him and send it to the Senate for trial.
The hurdle in this case comes down to the necessary requisite of the president committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Declining mental acuity doesn’t seem to fit this standard.
That, of course, doesn’t mean that Biden couldn’t be otherwise impeached. The question of his handling of classified documents remains highly problematic. The special counsel’s testimony hardly exonerated Biden. Hur concluded that “President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.”
So, impeaching Biden would come down to the House investigations into potential illegal activity and the political will to vote the president out.
Mental Fitness Test
This is a more novel—and I’d argue toothless—suggestion to deal with Biden’s infirmities.
In 2020, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Congress to create a panel to conduct a medical exam that would “determine whether the President is mentally or physically unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office.”
At the time, Pelosi and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., argued that they weren’t doing this simply to attack Trump but to make sure aging presidents can keep doing their job.
“The population is getting older; politicians are getting older,” Raskin said in an interview when he proposed the legislation. “It’s not hard to think that there will be future situations where the president’s physical and mental state may create issues for us. So, we just need to make sure that we have a structure and a process in place to address it.”
Raskin commented on Hur’s report this week only to say that he thinks that there are essential differences between “presidents or vice presidents like Joe Biden who occasionally behaved in sloppy ways with respect to where they were taking documents” and Trump.
He made no comment about Biden’s mental state, nor did he propose bringing back his proposed medical examination panel.
One way or another, the proposal is generally pointless, as Heritage Foundation legal scholar Hans von Spakovsky noted back in 2020.
“There is no need to change the current procedures that already exist under the 25th Amendment. This bill is nothing more than a political stunt and a waste of time,” he wrote.
The last solution for removing a failing president from office is perhaps the most mundane one: an election.
While Biden has clearly avoided cameras and public appearances more than other recent presidents, he’s also demonstrated clear signs of severe decline beyond his long history of verbal gaffes.
That’s something Americans will have to consider in the November election.
Biden could resign tomorrow. His staff could conclude he’s incapable of going on. Congress could go along with his cabinet’s suggestion or separately impeach him.
If the president is unable to handle his duties, then for the sake of the country, he should leave office.
Unfortunately, our elected officials often don’t do what’s in the best interest of their country. So, it’s ultimately up to the American people to decide whether they think the president is fit or unfit.
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