GOP West Virginia AG Morrisey urges VP Harris to invoke 25th Amendment process to remove Biden from office over mental health decline

 February 14, 2024

It has become abundantly clear to a majority of Americans, particularly in recent weeks, that the diminishment of President Joe Biden's mental faculties and cognitive capabilities has reached a dangerously concerning level.

Now some elected Republican officials, such as West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, are urging Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden's Cabinet to invoke the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment and remove the sitting president from power, The Hill reported.

It is a rather ironic, and somewhat humorous, turnabout in light of the multitude of similar but unfulfilled Democratic demands that former President Donald Trump be removed from office via the 25th Amendment throughout his four years in the White House.

The 25th Amendment's process for removing a sitting president

In the aftermath of the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, and likely with an eye toward the alleged stroke-induced incapacitation of former President Woodrow Wilson, the 25th Amendment was passed and added to the U.S. Constitution to establish procedures for replacing presidents and vice presidents "in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation."

Section 4 specifically lays out a process by which the sitting vice president, in conjunction with a majority of the executive Cabinet, can inform Congress of their determination that the sitting president "is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," at which point the VP assumes the role of Acting President.

Since its inception, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment has never been formally invoked, though it was often threatened and used as a political cudgel countless times by Democrats against former President Trump throughout much of his tenure in office. Now, Republicans have flipped the script and are calling for it to be invoked against President Biden.

Evidence of Biden's mental decline too much to be ignored any longer

In a three-page letter sent Thursday to VP Harris, West Virginia AG Morrisey wrote, "For too long, Americans have had to stand by and watch as their President has experienced a profound cognitive decline. Over the last few months alone, President Biden has mixed up world leaders and political figures, strained to address basic issues in public speeches, and wandered out of events in a disoriented state."

"These serious mental missteps have equally serious consequences," he continued and provided a few examples as well as cited polls that show a substantial majority of Americans have real concerns about Biden's mental health and well-being.

"But considering recent revelations in Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report, Americans should not be forced to swallow their concerns and stand by any longer," Morrisey wrote and emphasized, "I am writing to urge you to invoke your powers under Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment and declare that President Biden is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

He went on to quote some of the findings of the special counsel who investigated Biden's willful retention of classified documents after leaving office but declined to pursue criminal charges in large part because of his doubts that a jury would convict the "elderly man with a poor memory" and "diminished faculties" plus "limited precision and recall" on a wide range of important issues.

This is exactly what the 25th Amendment was intended to deal with

"The Twenty-Fifth Amendment was designed for times like these," Morrisey wrote in the letter to Harris, and further asserted, "We need a president who is mentally fit."

He also took issue with Harris' dismissal of the special counsel's report as "politically motivated" and, after providing even more examples of President Biden's recent blunders and gaffes, argued, "These and other moments confirm that there’s more at play here than politics. Special Counsel Hur’s
report is one more piece of evidence on a growing pile that shows that America is facing a genuine crisis of leadership."

Morrisey acknowledged that invocation of the 25th Amendment was an "extreme measure," but suggested to Harris that "if you can look
beyond your personal relationship with the President and evaluate the situation objectively, I’m confident you’ll conclude that now is the time for extreme measures."

Putting Harris in a no-win box

In closing, the West Virginia AG boxed in the former California AG with an appeal to her prosecutorial background and said, "If you nevertheless insist that the President is mentally fit, then you should call on the Attorney General to pursue appropriate charges for the President’s willful mishandling of documents."

"After all, the Special Counsel declined to prosecute in large part because he thought President Biden’s profound forgetfulness would make it hard to prove mens rea," he added. "If President Biden is sharp enough to run a country, then he is sharp enough to act willfully. And as a former prosecutor, I expect that you want to see justice done in every case -- even one involving a president."

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