Should we consider the 25th Amendment?

I’m not advocating that the president of the United States resign. I anticipate the quality of care he’ll receive will allow him to recover from coronavirus, which has killed close to 210,000 Americans. But would it be better for him if he temporatrily handed off his duties to Vice President Mike Pence until he’s returned to full health?

Doing so would allow Trump to focus solely on getting well, which any person who has contracted this cruel virus would want to do. Pence has served as vice president loyally; he certainly knows the president’s political agenda, so we know Trump’s political preferences would advance without disruption. Perhaps the most important short-term item is keeping on track Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  

Presuming Trump’s quarantine lasts two weeks, Pence would assume the presidency for approximately 14 days. We know comparing coronavirus to the flu is foolhardy, but it’s not impractical to suggest that the worst of the president’s symptoms would be evident over the next seven days; if that happens, Pence might need to replace Trump for no more than one week.

The reality is as however powerful and relevant the president of the United States is, that individual remains in that position for no more than eight years. The president’s family deserves to have lots of time with him once he leaves office. Trump needs to consider that. A laser-like focus on himself, especially when his stamina is low, is essential right now. 

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