25ATMFA (25th Amendment The Mother Fucker Already)
Donald Trump grudgingly admitted he had COVID-19 last Friday, and the question quickly emerged about when, if ever, his personal Ed McMahon, Mike Pence, might assume his duties, even if temporarily.
Politico points out that past presidents have ceded control under far less serious and unpredictable circumstances.
[The 25th Amendment] allows for temporary transfers of authority, such as in 2002 and 2007 when President George W. Bush transferred authority temporarily to Vice President Dick Cheney for a few hours each time while he underwent routine colonoscopies. In 1985, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush performed the duties of the presidency for roughly eight hours while President Ronald Reagan underwent colon surgery.
Trump's ailment isn't ass-related, but he is an asshole. Pence should be on deck, but Trump is of course too vain and self-centered to willingly cede power. He'd have to die first. Trump reminds me of the gangsters in movies who are so paranoid they demand only local anesthesia when having surgery, so they can "see what's happening." Of course, in reality, Trump would probably faint at the first sight of a scalpel.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland claims the current process is a mess, made even worse by the pandemic.
"I hope that the White House today will announce the medical chain of command so that the public and Congress will know precisely who to listen to," said Raskin, who has filed legislation in recent years intended to clarify the line of succession in an emergency. "We need to have precision about who is in control of the executive branch at all times."
The answer to the question "Who's in charge?" right now is less clear than "Who's on first?" White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was always subordinate to Jared Kushner, because Trump doesn't even have the sense of Vito Corleone, who never let his own idiot son-in-law anywhere near the family business. This just reinforces the longstanding problem of the Trump administration's blatant nepotism. Family members are hardly objective, and in Kushner's case, his sole motivation is to remain in power, even if Trump is more heavily medicated than Keith Richards during the 1970s.
And if Trump becomes incapacitated before invoking the 25th Amendment, but does not die, the situation becomes even more complicated — and the guidelines are more vague.
Trump's been mentally incapacitated while still technically alive for his entire presidency, but if he becomes more obviously useless, Pence and a majority of the Cabinet could notify Congress that the vice president should take over. That is unlikely to happen, as Trump's installed a Cabinet of stooges loyal to him. Meanwhile, there is no clear chain of command during a pandemic that has felled the commander in chief, and our enemies are watching.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse