Lawrence O’Donnell. Photo-Twitter
Excerpted From Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC Show “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell”
I started talking about the 25th Amendment two weeks into the Trump Presidency when it had become painfully clear that by any previous behavioral standards applied to the presidency that Donald Trump was unfit to serve.
The 25th Amendment allows for the removal of a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” The 25th Amendment leaves it up to the Vice President to decide when the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. It can be for health reasons, it can be for mental health reasons, it can be for reasons of corruption, or any reason the vice president chooses.
The vice president cannot do this alone. He needs the written agreement of the majority of the cabinet and with that the vice president becomes the acting president as long as the president remains unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. In the weeks and months that have passed since then, no one’s confidence of President Trump to discharge the powers and duties of his office has increased.
A month into the Trump Presidency, Senator Al Franken wondered aloud about the President’s sanity, something that no senator had even done with a new president. Psychiatrists and psychologists started going public with their concerns about the president’s mental stability; some of them appeared as guests on this program. And people who knew the president well and had been very friendly with him for years began to publicly question his mental health…Last week when the president attacked Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski many more people began to question the president’s mental health because of the viciousness of the attack.
But there was nothing new stylistically in the Trump attack. He had been at least that vicious with Rosie O’Donnell years ago and was equally viciousness with Megan Kelly in the campaign but the negative reaction was more intense this time because of all the accumulated bursts of Trumpian madness that had preceded the attack on Joe and Mika; and then came this, on Sunday, a wordless treat that presumably captured the president’s frame of mind his state of mind about CNN [The video of Trump wrestling CNN to the ground]. The tweet seen around the world. That created a new burst of interest in the 25th Amendment and the mental stability of the president of the United States.
It was like a straw breaking the camel’s back. The world’s strangest tweeter, given his position in our government and his position in the world, tweeted one of his strangest tweets after a week in which his mental health was already being questioned. What everyone knew, the second they saw that tweet of him fighting with CNN, was that presidents do not do this. That’s everyone’s first reaction: presidents do not do this.