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25th amendment

After Trump Covid-19 Diagnosis, Pelosi and Raskin to Propose Creating Commission on Presidential Capacity

While President Donald Trump continued to fight Covid-19, the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the California Democrat and a congressman who is a constitutional law expert are planning to unveil legislation that would create a Commission on Presidential Capacity.

A brief statement from Pelosi's office said she and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) will hold a Friday morning press conference to introduce the measure, which would establish the commission "to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office in the Executive Branch of government."

The announcement came after Pelosi, during her weekly press conference Thursday, urged reporters to return to Capitol Hill "tomorrow" because "we're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment" of the Constitution, which outlines the transfer of power procedures for if the president is removed from office, resigns, or dies.

The proposal is "expected to reflect legislation that Raskin originally introduced in 2017 that would establish a commission to determine presidential fitness for office as outlined by the Constitution's 25th Amendment," according toThe Hill.

Shortly after Trump revealed last week that he had tested positive for Covid-19, Raskin had told The Hill, "I've got my 25th Amendment legislation from the last Congress, H.R. 1987, which I'm going to be dusting off and reintroducing."

CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju shared Pelosi's statement and outlined Raskin's previous measure in a series of tweets:

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Trump returned to the White House Monday after spending three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Since being diagnosed with the deadly disease, the president has received supplemental oxygen and various treatments—which, as CNNreported, included "an 8-gram dose of the experimental antibody therapy cocktail made by the biotechnology company Regeneron."

In a Thursday morning interview on Fox Business News that some critics described as "unhinged," Trump backed out of a planned virtual debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and praised the Regeneron treatment. "I view it as a cure, not just a therapeutic," he said. "It made me better, I will tell you right now."

Pelosi, during her press conference, declined to say whether it was time to invoke the 25th Amendment because of Trump having Covid-19—instead telling reporters to return Friday to address the topic. However, in a later appearance on Bloomberg TV, she cast doubt on Trump's current condition.

"The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now," said Pelosi. "I don't know how to answer for that behavior."

The president responded to Pelosi's 25th Amendment comment on Twitter, declaring: "Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don't call her Crazy for nothing!"

Pelosi and Raskin's Friday unveiling will come after the president's behavior—including firing off several tweets early Monday—has generated alarm throughout the week.


Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted Monday that "Trump's insane—INSANE—Twitter storm this morning is [making] the case for his cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment."

Jessica Corbett
Common Dreams