There is not much likelihood that Trump will be impeached. In practical matters, it’s not going to happen as long as the Republicans are in control of the House, which is where articles of impeachment originate. The last two times that a president was either impeached or got close to it — Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon — the opposition party to the president was in the majority in the House. In addition, the bar for impeachment is “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which basically means the president has to commit a criminal act. Tweeting outrageous garbage at 3:00 a.m. is not a crime; if it were, a lot of people — especially jilted boyfriends — would be under indictment.
So what recourse have we? Well, there’s the part where we can genuinely question whether or not the current president is capable of fulfilling his duties due to mental disease or disability.
Martin Longman writes:
There was a period of time when it was at least in doubt whether Trump was a genuine Birther or just a cynical one using the slander as a shrewd ploy to win political support from the far right. That debate should be settled now that we see him in office embracing theories concocted in the fever swamps of Breitbart and the Alex Jones InfoWars radio show. He isn’t sophisticated enough to understand the difference between mercenary partisan propaganda and actual news reporting. This is why he repeats things like the story that New Jersey muslims were celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers and that millions of non-citizens (all) voting for Clinton cost him the popular vote.
He doesn’t just repeat these stories that are intended to deceive the audience and enrich the author, but he asks that the government actively investigate them.
And this is the stuff that actually does move Trump closer to being removed from office. Because, you can be sure that many, many Republicans are more than perturbed that they have to constantly apologize for or try to rationalize the president’s insupportable statements and theories. They know he’s a dangerous loose cannon. They know he can’t be trusted or even reasoned with. And they want to live to see their grandchildren.
There seems to be push back when anyone accuses the president of having a mental disorder or disability, as if to say so is to suggest that people with mental problems can’t be trusted to take positions of responsibility. People say it’s wrong to try to diagnose a person without having the proper credentials or the opportunity to closely interact with them as a patient.
This is taking things too far when it comes to the president of the United States who commands enough radioactivity to end sentient life on Earth. You don’t want me to say that the president has narcissistic personality disorder and is clearly insane?
Fine, how about this? It’s a bad idea to hand your three year old a loaded handgun. Saying so is not to disrespect three year olds or to dismiss all the wonderful things they’re capable of doing. If you hand your three year old a handgun and he pulls the trigger and kills someone, that’s entirely your fault. And if your see a three year old walking around with a loaded handgun, your responsibility is to immediately disarm them.
That’s the best analogy for our current situation. And it would be true even if the president were not ethically compromised beyond belief. It would be true even if he were not undermining the European Union, demoralizing NATO, and seemingly more interested in furthering Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy goals than the strength and unity of the West.
It’s not that Trump tweets and re-tweets wild and unsubstantiated stuff from conspiracy-theorists and hate groups. It’s that he believes it.
There is a solution. It’s not easy, and it will require the cooperation of people close to the president and who owe their current position to him. But it’s there: Amendment XXV, 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.
The question remains, however, is what will it take to get them to use it. By the time there’s a consensus among the principal officers, it could be too late.