Before Trump was even inaugurated, some of my liberal friends were already talking about the need to impeach Trump. I’m as harsh a Trump critic as you’ll find, but I think the calls for his impeachment are, at best, premature. The most convincing allegation I’ve seen is his potential violation of the Emoluments Clause, but even that hasn’t been fully investigated yet.
Let us Trump critics refrain from calls for his impeachment talk until we have some more facts to back it up. (In the meantime, calls for the investigation of impeachable offenses are fair game.)
Some wonder, “What about gross incompetence? Can we impeach a President for that?” You’re not alone. Just a few years ago Trump himself asked the same question:
Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2014
But, no, gross incompetence is not an impeachable offense.
A much more plausible–and convincing–argument for removing Trump from office is based on impairment. Although it has never been invoked, Section Four of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment provides a mechanism to elevate the Vice President to Acting President against the will of the President. Here is part of Section Four:
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.
So what, then, is the case for the impairment of President Trump? A growing number of psychiatrists are publicly stating what many of us already believed: Trump is mentally ill and likely suffers from some form of medically significant narcissism, such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
If you voted for Trump, Impairment under the 25th Amendment is a win-win. It allows you to keep someone (Pence) in the White House whose policies you support, while giving the entire world someone who is mentally stable. Trump could be declared impaired and then Pence would become Acting President.