The 25th Amendment outlines the presidential line of succession, or who becomes president should the president become disabled, resign or be removed from office.
The clause has never been invoked in the 50 years since the amendment was adopted on Feb. 10, 1967.
This is not the first time the 25th Amendment has made the news in relation to Trump’s presidency.
In July 2017, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, introduced a bill to establish an independent commission on presidential capacity.
The bill would allow Congress to “guarantee the security of the nation and effectiveness of government when serious concerns have been raised about the president’s ability to execute the responsibilities of the office.”
Raskin referenced the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution in the bill, which asks for the creation of a congressional body "to determine presidential fitness."
The interest in the amendment started soon after the presidential election in November and first spiked in February 2017, around the time that Michael Flynn was fired as national security adviser.
A story from Business Insider suggests the increased interest rests with those who oppose the president and have discovered the fourth clause of the document. They see it as a way to remove President Donald Trump from office.
That clause states, “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.”
In short, the clause means that Vice President Mike Pence along with 13 of the 24 members of the Cabinet could decide the president is unable to do his job and remove him from office. In that case, Pence would become president.
A president can fight such a move by a vice president and send the decision on removal to a vote in Congress.
So, what would happen if President Trump were to resign, become disabled or be removed from office? Who would become president? Here’s the line of succession for the presidency of the United States.
1. Vice President
2. Speaker of the House of Representatives
3. President pro tempore of the Senate
4. Secretary of State
5. Secretary of the Treasury
6. Secretary of Defense
7. Attorney General
8. Secretary of the Interior
9. Secretary of Agriculture
10. Secretary of Commerce
11. Secretary of Labor
12. Secretary of Health and Human Services
13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
14. Secretary of Transportation (Currently Elaine Choa, who is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, and cannot become president.)
15. Secretary of Energy
16. Secretary of Education
17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
18. Secretary of Homeland Security
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