Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would lead a discussion on Friday about invoking the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office amid fears the medication he is taking for his COVID treatment are affecting his mental health.
‘Come here tomorrow,’ she told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday. ‘We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.’
She refused to give any more details – a move that will likely stoke speculation and build suspense over the next 24 hours.
‘I’ll talk to you about that tomorrow,’ she said when asked about it. ‘I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow. I’m not talking about it today except to tell you if you want to talk about that I’ll see you tomorrow.’
Pelosi spoke after Trump was interviewed on Fox Business Network in a frenzied almost hour-long interview where he suggested Gold Star families may have infected him with COVID, claimed again he was ‘cured,’ equivocated over whether he is still on powerful steroids, demanded AG Bill Barr indict Joe Biden and Barack Obama and twice called Kamala Harris a ‘monster.’
She indicated Friday’s conversation was related to concerns about the steroid Trump is taking. Some doctors have raised concerns about dexamethasone, which can cause insomnia, mania, mood swings, and rage. It has shown promise for treating patients with a severe case of COVID who are getting supplemental oxygen.
The 25th Amendment’s doomsday clause, section four, allowed a president to be removed from office against his will because of incapacity, whether physical or mental.
But it could only be used to remove Trump with the assistance of Mike Pence and members of his Cabinet, which currently appears unlikely.
It does however allow Congress to appoint a body to assess the president’s fitness – which gives Pelosi an opening and in the context of an election campaign, a chance to taunt her long-term enemy Trump, who for years has called her ‘Crazy Nancy.’
Pelosi has been sounding the alarm on Trump’s mental state for the past few days after he issued a surprising tweet on Tuesday calling off negotiations on a COVID relief bill. His move crashed the stock market.
‘I’ve quoted others to say that there are those who say that when you’re on steroids and/or if you’ve had COVID-19 or both – that there may be some impairment of judgment. But, again, that’s for the doctors and scientists to determine, but it was very strange, really surprising and I’m rarely surprised, when the president took to the tweet and saying that he wants the Senate to have full focus on this confirmation of the justice and turned attention away, so we’re stopping negotiations,’ she told Bloomberg News.
Pelosi’s announcement caps an unprecedented week in American politics. Trump, shortly before 1 am on Friday, tweeted he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. On Friday evening, he walked to Marine One to be checked into Walter Reed Medical Center. From there, he tweeted videos and photos of himself at work. On Saturday his doctors caused concerned when they refused to disclose numerous details about the severity of his case, including if he had supplemental oxygen and the state of his heart and lungs.
On Sunday, the president – while wearing a face mask – got in his SUV with his Secret Service detail to drive in front of the hospital to thank his supporters. On Monday, the president left the hospital, climbed the steps of balcony on the South Portico and removed his face mask. He appeared to be struggling to breath. Tuesday started a presidential tweet storm, in which he crashed the stock market. Wednesday Trump returned to the Oval Office – all while still contagious from COVID.
The speaker had been in talks with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on a new deal with the tweet was issued. When the tweet hit the internet she was on a conference call with Democratic lawmakers where she blamed Trump’s medication for his decision.
She’s also questioned if Mnuchin was warned about the president’s move.
‘I almost wonder if Steve Mnuchin knew the president was going to do that,’ she said at her press conference Thursday.
Trump admitted in an interview with Fox Business on Thursday he is taking the powerful steroid but he said called it a ‘not heavy’ drug.
‘I think the public deserves to know the health condition of the President,’ Pelosi said during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.
‘Mr President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this spread made a hotspot of the White House?’ she added.
Congress, however, has a limited role in the 25th amendment, which gives executive power to the vice president should the president become incapacitated.
A president can voluntarily hand over power on a temporary basis – George W. Bush did when he was unconscious for a colonoscopy. But if Trump would refuse, then Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet could force the issue, and, if Trump objected to it, there would be a deciding vote by Congress.
Trump indicated to Fox Business that he was no longer taking medication to combat the virus but then said he was going to take dexamethasone a little bit longer. It is a powerful steroid given to those with COVID who have trouble breathing.
‘I think I’m taking almost nothing. I think I’m finished with just about everything,’ Trump said of his medical regime.
Then he said he had ‘a little bit longer’ on the dexamethasone.
He added: ‘I think you go a little bit longer on – they have a steroid. It’s not even, it’s not a heavy steroid, yet they have that go a little bit longer, but I’m not taking – I’m almost not taking anything, I feel great.’
‘I’m almost not taking anything,’ he said of the cocktail of medications his medical team had him on. His treatment regime included the dexamethasone, an experimental anti-viral drug that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is testing to supply antibodies that help a patient fight the disease, and the antiviral drug remdesivir. (Daily Mail)