He’s been called crazy, erratic, loose cannon, and other unpleasant names, but President Donald Trump continues what he does best: make a fool of himself with his antics and tantrums. He’d insult people who don’t agree with him and put down others at the slightest misunderstanding. He loves to fire subordinates who don’t see it his way or utter comments that would humiliate him or contravene his policies. And those who couldn’t stomach his management style, quit.
His Republican Party mates in Congress ━ out of fear ━ wouldn’t dare contradict or oppose him. Only those who have decided not to seek re-election this year, have the courage to openly criticize him. The rest of the Grand Old Party pack would act as lapdogs, willing to do what the master wants them to do.
But there is a growing number of Republicans who have decided not to seek re-election because they believe that Trump’s unpopularity is hindering their own chances of winning another term.
With midterm elections coming up in seven months, there is apprehension among GOP congressmen that the November election would be a bloodbath and that the Republican Party would lose control of the House of Representatives and, possibly, the Senate. And with the Democrats taking control over either or both chambers, Trump would not survive the last two years of his term. The Democrats would make sure that a midterm defeat for Trump would drive the final nail into Trump’s political coffin.
In Putin’s pocket
However, nobody should be presumptuous enough to put an end to the Trump presidency. With the aid of Russian hackers and local Trump operatives, Trump could repeat the 2016 “win” that is now the subject of investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. As one political observer said, “Trump is in Putin’s pocket.” What Putin allegedly did in 2016 to help Trump win, he could do it again in 2020.
The question is: how much work has the Trump organization already done that would put Trump’s reelection campaign ahead of potential Democratic presidential wannabes? With Trump’s reelection campaign already in the process of structuring, he’s way ahead in the game. He’d be a formidable foe in 2020.
It would be hard to stop him in the polls. His base in the Republican Party is solidly loyal to him. You’re looking at 30-35%, which is more than enough to win the primaries and clinch the Republican nomination. However, the anti-Trump faction in the GOP is growing; but it is not enough to deny him the nomination. The only way to stop him is to remove him from the presidency before the 2020 elections. They can impeach him. But it is a lengthy process and there is no guarantee that it will succeed.
The other option is to invoke the 25th Amendment. If done right, it could remove Trump even before the midterm elections and stop him from hurting the country. With each day that he stays in office, the U.S. is losing in the geopolitical game big time. Russia, China, and Iran are becoming bolder in challenging America’s position as the world’s superpower. North Korea is now working towards developing nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach anywhere in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ━ commonly known as the Iran nuclear agreement ━ is in jeopardy of being scrapped. The JCPOA was finalized in Vienna in July 2015 with the participation of the U.S., China, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, and the United Kingdom. It blocked Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb and prevented a new war in the Middle East. This landmark agreement was reached in exchange for a waiver of nuclear-related sanctions. But Trump wants to renegotiate the JCPOA. He threatened to withdraw from it, which could cause Iran to go rogue and restart its nuclear program.
Recently, Trump abruptly changed his national security team, which included National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He fired both of them and appointed former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and ultra-hawk John Bolton as National Security Advisor.
But they’re both unqualified for the jobs they’re taking over. Pompeo was a hardline Republican congressman before Trump tapped him to be the nation’s spymaster. Now, with zero foreign affairs experience, Pompeo will be the nation’s top diplomat.
Bolton on the other hand is probably the most dangerous person to ever hold the job of advising the president on matters of state security. Known for advocating pre-emptive strikes on North Korea, Bolton’s hawkish and neoconservative views on foreign policy would, in the opinion of many political observers, bring the U.S. closer to a nuclear war.
The question that keeps coming back to mind is: Why did Trump pick two war hawks to lead his national security team? Is he preparing the country to go to war? If so, then Congress should ━ nay, must! ━ do all it can to stop or remove him from office.
Earlier, I mentioned the 25th Amendment. What’s it all about? An article written by Jon Meacham provides the rationale for its enactment. He wrote: “On April 13, 1965, in the midst of a congressional debate over the proposed 25th Amendment to the Constitution dealing with presidential succession and incapacity, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Emanuel Celler of New York, dispensed with high-minded legal arguments. They were there, Celler said, to figure out what might be done if the unthinkable ━ a deranged American President with nuclear weapons ━ became thinkable. ‘The President may be as nutty as a fruitcake,’ Celler declared on the House floor. ‘He may be utterly insane.’ And for this reason, America needed a plan.
“Ratified two years later, the amendment offered the country just that. And now, half a century on, the subject of whether President Donald Trump could face a removal from power under its terms is one of an ever-widening conversation.”
Many believe that Trump’s recent misadventures in geopolitics, strange behavior, and questionable actions have led many to believe that he has gone off the deep end. It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment. It would enable the Vice President, with a majority of members of the Cabinet, to declare the President unable to discharge his duties, thus installing the Vice President as acting President pending a presidential appeal to, and vote by, the Congress. But would Congress vote down an appeal by Trump in the event he’s declared unable to discharge his duties as President?
And this is where Vice President Mike Pence could use his personal appeal and charisma to convince the Cabinet members and the Republican congressional members that not only is Trump dangerously incompetent, Pence is ready to take the job and that he would be able to lead the country out of the quagmire that Trump has dragged the country into.
At the end of the day, it would come down to a question of loyalty and patriotism. Are the Cabinet members loyal to President Trump, to whom they owe their appointment? Or would patriotism and allegiance to the flag of the United States transcend party loyalty? (PerryDiaz@gmail.com)