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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

The 25th Amendment: The Failed “Hail Mary” of the Desperate (But 59-41 Senate Vote and 420-0 House Vote)

The Great Disappointment (faculty.polytechnic.org)

Every once in a while, the 25th Amendment returns to the national spotlight for a brief moment. It does so because it provides a mechanism for the removal of a president from office in midstream. Instead of having to deal with the vagaries of the voting public or having to wait possibly years to do what is needed to be done because of the EMERGENCY RIGHT NOW, the 25th Amendment can be activated to resolve the current crisis.

The primary purpose of the amendment was due to medical conditions. There may be times when the president is physically incapable of performing the duties of office. The most obvious examples would be when the president is under sedation for an operation or in recovery. In these circumstances it is understandable that the world knows that someone, meaning the Vice President, is in full control and able to act as the president even though the president is still alive. To the best of knowledge the amendment was not designed or intended to address situations where an incompetent person had been elected either legitimately or illegitimately. It certainly was not designed to remove someone from office simply because you disagree with the person on everything or think the president has engaged in illegal and/or traitorous actions. For those concerns the proper course of action is impeachment.

At this point, I wish to return and update some previous blogs I wrote on this subject. I will do so by focusing on the op-eds of Ronald Feinman, no relation, who reflects the fervent belief of the desperate in the immediate need for deploying the 25th amendment.

Initially, I was drawn to his postings on the History News Network because of his last name. I was startled at first glance to see my name even though I had not recently submitted anything. I began to pay careful attention to him due to his post of November 4, 2016, entitled Who Will Win about the upcoming election. The highlights of his prognostications were:

This author’s projection has certainly changed as a result of events and controversies, and the growing evidence that Hillary Clinton should do better than originally predicted in May [bold added].

The final predicted Electoral College is 352-186, with 27 states for Hillary Clinton plus one electoral vote from Nebraska, and 23 states and one electoral vote from Maine for Donald Trump. In a few days, we shall see how accurate my forecast is. [Bold not added!]

And Hillary Clinton’s victory will propel the Democrats into control of the US Senate, with a projected gain of seats in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina at the least, making for a 6 seat gain to 52 seats, and possibly winning Arizona, Florida, and Missouri, so a maximum of 55 seats or a 9 seat gain. The House of Representatives will remain in Republican hands, but not by 30 seats, but more likely by 10-12 seats, so from a present total of 247-188 to 227-208 or 229-206.

Obviously he was as wrong as wrong can be even with the then unknown Russian violation of the American election.
It did not take long for that Feinman to shift gears from the election results to the 25th Amendment. In my blog Impeachment: The Elitist Democrat Holy Grail, I surveyed his op-eds from 2017.

Why We Need a Crash Course in the 25th Amendment (January 22, 2017)

Even before the inauguration had occurred, that Feinman already was calculating how the new president could be removed from office.

He seems, clearly, to be living in a parallel universe, out of touch with reality, and obsessed with his own vanity. Fortunately, there is a constitutional remedy: The 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Section 4.

Feinman then detailed how Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan could lead this action. To be fair, the cabinet selected by Swamp Builder had not yet become the most corrupt and incompetent cabinet in the history of the United States – it had not even taken office! Nonetheless, that Feinman was preparing for what needed to be done:

It would take a lot of political courage and conviction for Pence and Ryan and the cabinet officers to agree that Donald Trump is unfit to be President, and for them to be convinced that Trump is so dangerous he shouldn’t have access to the nuclear codes or continue as Commander in Chief. This is a situation that must be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis. The fate of the nation depends on our political leaders exercising good judgment.

Feinman continued to monitor the situation and followed up with the blog

Donald Trump Is On His Way to Second or Third Shortest Presidency in American History (February 15, 2017)

Not even one month into the new administration and the person who was completely wrong about the election results, offered another presidential prophecy: the briefest term in office ever. The catalyst for the removal from office will be …are you ready for this?… Mike Pence.

The fact that Vice President Mike Pence played a major role in pushing Flynn out is a sign that Pence is already asserting himself with Trump, and it seems clear that Pence will not stand by and allow our foreign policy to be damaged, or our national security to be endangered. The American people, ultimately, would not expect anything less.

It is difficult two years later to read these lines without busting a gut laughing. And people say Kellyanne Conway lives in an alternate reality!

In any case, it seems likely that Donald Trump will be leaving the Presidency at some point, likely between the 31 days of William Henry Harrison in 1841 (dying of pneumonia) and the 199 days of James A. Garfield in 1881 (dying of an assassin’s bullet after 79 days of terrible suffering and medical malpractice). At the most, it certainly seems likely, even if dragged out, that Trump will not last 16 months and 5 days, as occurred with Zachary Taylor in 1850 (dying of a digestive ailment). The Pence Presidency seems inevitable.

I confess that after this prophecy, I checked the calendar to see when the 199th day of reckoning would occur. Another way to check was with MSNBC The Eleventh Hour with Brian Williams. Night after night he intones the number of days into the presidency as if he is counting the number of days Americans were held in captivity in Iran. We are far beyond 199 days now. What will Brian Williams do when the number hits 1000? When if ever will Ronald Feinman return to the real world?

Can We Count on the GOP to End the Trump Presidency? (August 6, 2017)

He still had not by August, 2017. At that time he offered another prediction.

Expect the eventual abandonment of Trump by Republicans as the months go by into 2018. A Pence Presidency is likely coming sooner rather than later, with the best situation for Republicans being to resolve the matter before the midterm Congressional elections next year.

At this point, he seemed ready to abandon the 25th Amendment as a solution. Instead he turned to impeachment.

Just 43 Republicans Joining with Democrats Could End Donald Trump’s Presidency (August 20, 2017)

The crisis that Donald Trump represents cries out for movement toward impeachment and trial to remove him from the Presidency, unless he agrees to resign, or Vice President Mike Pence, in league with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a majority of the Presidential Cabinet agree to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment Section 4, as mentally incompetent to stay in office. Neither of these seems likely at this stage, as we enter the eighth month of the Trump Presidency later in August.

Feinman then names names. He names names in both the House of Representatives and the Senate as possible candidates to vote first for impeachment and then conviction. He is thorough in his analyses even when they bear no relation to what will happen.

It’s not a matter of when Republicans are ready to turn on Trump,” the aide said. “It’s about when they decide they’re ready for President Pence.”
A Pence Presidency is likely coming sooner rather than later, with the best situation for Republicans being to resolve the matter before the midterm Congressional elections next year.

Those elections have come and gone. Now the Republicans lack a majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans still control the Senate.

There is one last blog by Feinman that deserves attention. It does so because it was the Number 1 op-ed on the History News Network for 2018. So even though he is never right, Feinman clearly has tapped into the mindset of that audience. The op-ed piece was:

The End of the Trump Presidency Now Looms (April 22, 2018)

The piece begins with:

The scandals surrounding President Donald Trump are metastasizing rapidly, much more than anyone would have thought just a few months ago.

It sounds very similar to what people are saying right now. He continued with:

With the midterm congressional elections now less than seven months away, and with the Republicans running scared about potential massive losses, and with more criticism emerging from not only respectable conservatives, but also from some of his own loyalists, Donald Trump’s time in the Presidency seems rapidly coming toward a sudden end.

The persistently wrong prophet then draws on his previous prophecy to update it:

So while it now seems likely that Trump will outlast the 492 days of President Zachary Taylor, to be reached on May 27, 2018, once thought by this scholar to be the end point of the Trump Presidency, it seems evident that Trump will leave office before the 4th shortest Presidency, that of Warren G. Harding from 1921-1923, a total of 881 days. This would be Thursday, June 20, 2019.

So with 15 months down in the Trump Presidency, the chance of his leaving in the next 14 months at the most is on the horizon.

I confess, I considered waiting until June 20, 2019, to write this post. Due to the recent flurry over the 25th Amendment and the constant chatter about impeachment by the Democratic House of Representatives, I decided to post it now. To be the best of my knowledge, as we approach the one-year anniversary of the June 20, 2019 prophecy, Feinman has not updated or revised his prediction. One should keep in mind, despite all the times his wrong about the 2016 election and the 25th Amendment in 2017, this op-ed piece predicting a June 20, 2019, termination was the most popular op-ed piece by hits on the History News Network. That popularity reflects the desires of the audience and undoubtedly a great deal of additional people praying or wishing for the end of days for the Trump presidency so Brian Williams finally can cease his count. Fortunately Ronald Feinman lacks the stature of William Miller so June 20, 2019, will not be the great disappointment October 22, 1844, was.

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