Congress explores options for removing an unfit president as Trump’s ‘disturbing’ behavior worries GOP
Several Democratic lawmakers, and a number of pundits, have openly questioned President Donald Trump’s mental health — but Republicans are literally laughing at the suggestion.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called for a congressional review this week of the constitutional process for removing a president who is mentally or emotionally unfit for office, and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) told CNN that some of his GOP colleagues were worried about the president’s stability, reported The Hill.
“It’s not normal behavior,” Blumenauer said. “I don’t know anybody in a position of responsibility that doesn’t know if they’re being rained on, and nobody I work with serially offers up verifiably false statements on an ongoing basis.”
Another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), plans to introduce a bill that would require a psychiatrist or psychologist to work at the White House.
Even if Trump were diagnosed with some type of mental illness or cognitive impairment by a White House physician, experts question how the process for removal would actually work in practice.
“Regrettably, our current political climate makes it unlikely that such a measure will be invoked, even when necessary,” Dr. Jacob Appel, a Mt. Sinai School of Medicine psychiatrist who has studied the health of politicians and presidents, told NPR. “Until the system is fixed, and the political culture changes, medical information is rather useless. To one side, it will be a smoking gun, and to the other side it will be fake news or alternative facts.”
No GOP lawmakers have publicly questioned Trump’s mental health, but former Republican congressman and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said they’re privately terrified by the president’s behavior — especially his bizarre and combative Thursday news conference.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) February 17, 2017
On the record, Republicans criticized their Democratic colleagues for questioning the president’s emotional stability.
“It’s divisive,” complained Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN). “The bottom line is, if Trump doesn’t succeed, we all fail. It’s time to give the guy a chance.”
Two other Republicans, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), actually burst out laughing when The Hill questioned them about their colleague’s concerns.
“Are you serious?” Hunter told the website. “Yeah, I don’t care what they say.”
“I think that’s a stretch,” Simpson said, although he conceded that it was reasonable to question Trump’s judgment. “The behavior is somewhat disturbing.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment, the website noted.
Blumenauer said at least a half-dozen lawmakers have expressed interest in joining a working group to review constitutional procedures for removing an unfit president, and Lieu said Trump’s behavior was a legitimate issue.
“I am not a mental health professional, so I don’t know in terms of any sort of medical expertise on this,” Lieu told The Hill. “But I do see and hear the same things that other people see and hear, and a lot of people have concluded that what’s going on is not normal. So what do I do with that as a member of Congress?”
“Anyone who can launch 4,000 nuclear weapons in minutes absolutely should be questioned on any matter related to their physical and mental health,” Lieu added.