Is there a chance we’ll see a President Pence before 2024 or maybe even before 2020? Steve Bannon sure thinks so. The former Trump cabinet member seems to be stirring the pot over a jaw-dropping prediction that the president won’t finish his first term.
According to Vanity Fair piece that portrays President Trump as being seen as “unraveling” by his White House team:
Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term.
As a reminder, the 25th Amendment was enacted in 1967 to, in part, clarify the procedure the government must take when the president becomes disabled.
The relevant part of the amendment to Mr. Bannon’s supposed theory is Section 4:
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.
Mr. Bannon’s reputation for being at odds with his fellow Republicans and his apparent desire to stoke his former boss’s displeasure with them – even the Republicans in his own cabinet – is such that this story has some credibility.
For example, Steve Bannon was recently on Hannity, where he declared war against all 2018 Senate incumbents except Ted Cruz (despite Senators Fischer and Barraso having pretty conservative voting records).
However, it is very odd to think that Mike Pence, who has given no public indication of being disloyal, would play Brutus to Donald Trump’s Caesar.
And despite the number of Progressives and establishment GOP never-Trumpers who have been rocking themselves to sleep by singing the text of the 25th Amendment as a lullaby since election day –
Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Article 4. We’re all going to be talking a lot more about it in the months ahead.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 16, 2016
– it is difficult to imagine a majority of the Trump cabinet voting to remove the president as well, despite his occasional public disagreements with Secretary of State Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Mattis, and others, unless the president actually does become disabled (i.e. has an incapacitating stroke) while in office.
Democrats and Republicans should both hope that Steve Bannon’s prediction is wrong.
If it isn’t, and President Trump is removed from office, there might be a backlash against the removal that may prevent another Republican from becoming president for a generation.
And should such a backlash not occur, the Democrats might find President Pence to be a much more conservative alternative to Donald Trump than they imagine.