Times columnist goes off the deep end with Trump

When it comes to President Donald Trump, the only thing you can really count on is that people are going to completely lose their mind and any sense of rationality when they talk about him.

Opponents have been screeching “Impeachment!” any time the president fails to properly make use of the Oxford comma, or is late to a meeting. Supporters are excusing and dismissing things they would have themselves criticized were they to have been done by Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Four months in, how people are reacting to the man is giving me a renewed and exponentially increasing sense of bewilderment by the day.

Take Tuesday’s column in The New York Times (surprise) by Ross Douthat, their featured — *ahem* — “conservative” columnist, entitled “The 25th Amendment Solution to Remove Trump.”

It is, without a doubt, the single most monumentally, painfully ludicrous thing I have read since Trump was sworn in. And that’s saying something.

Lora Olive | Zuma Press | TNS

The 25th Amendment was adopted formally in 1967, and deals with issues related to the succession of the presidency by the vice president in the event of a vacancy. It also firmly establishes rules about dealing with presidential disabilities or incapacities, which is the section Douthat believes can be applied.

Section 4 reads, “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.”

Fans of the television show 24 will recognize this as the amendment that was invoked, seemingly every season, by ambitious, underhanded political schemers to steal power away from the president, to install a more favorable vice president into office.

This is, apparently, Douthat’s dream scenario. But with what pretext? What is the “disability” that would allow this amendment to be used?

“A child cannot be president,” he declares. “I love my children; they cannot have the nuclear codes.”

“The Trump situation is not exactly the sort that the amendment’s Cold War-era designers were envisioning.” No kidding. “He has not endured an assassination attempt or suffered a stroke or fallen prey to Alzheimer’s. But his incapacity to really govern, to truly execute the serious duties that fall to him to carry out, is nevertheless testified to daily.”

Don’t mistake what you’re reading here. Douthat is essentially arguing that a pretense be used to engineer a coup d’etat of a duly elected president, just like you might see in a movie or TV show.

This is an idea so bad, so shocking, so insane, that it perfectly encapsulates every unhinged and irrational reaction to President Trump we see today. Reactions, by the way, which undermine any reasonable criticism of him. And Lord knows I have had more than my share of criticisms of the president.

But the 25th Amendment, as Douthat himself notes, was meant to deal with a president that was truly incapacitated, due to injury, illness or temporary medical needs. It was not meant to allow presidential critics a tool to remove a president who has a personality or style you don’t like.

If this kind of door were to be opened inappropriately to remove his hated nemesis Donald Trump, is Douthat naive enough to believe it would not then lead to future use for equally dubious reasons?

Even if all the worst things that the mainstream media and leftist critics say about Donald Trump are true — and they aren’t — it still wouldn’t be a basis for removal under the 25th Amendment. Believing someone immature or that they demonstrate poor judgment is not a “disability.”

This thinking, from a self-described conservative who reveres the Constitution no less, is everything that is wrong with the activist liberal opinion of our governing document. The Constitution — and this amendment — doesn’t mean what it was designed to mean. No, it means whatever Douthat needs it to mean in order to achieve his desired end.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what it looks like when you have completely and totally lost all perspective, and are falling victim to a certain and very specific form of derangement.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.