25th Amendment talk premature, says Lankford
Political talk about invoking the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove President Donald Trump from office at the present time is a total misapplication of the amendment, U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said after a trip Friday to Clinton.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) among others had suggested that the 25th Amendment be invoked after the New York Times printed an article supposedly written by an unnamed White House insider saying that the president is mentally incapable of performing his job.
The 25th Amendment established procedures for removing the president or vice-president and filling their offices if they are disabled and cannot continue to lead the nation.
Lankford, after visiting with Clinton leaders and school students, spoke to the Clinton Daily News via telephone as he was driving to Hobart for his next stop in western Oklahoma. He said the 25th Amendment should be invoked only when it’s obvious to everyone that the president has fallen ill and is not going to recover. He said that decision should be based on surgery or serious physical impairment.
In a situation like Warren, who has her own presidential ambitions, is referring to, he said it would create a constitutional crisis rather than solve one if the president were removed from office by insiders.
“The American people and their vote should decide that,” he said. “It shouldn’t be some elite group of people. Elizabeth Warren had a policy disagreement with the president and tried to step in. That’s not the way that should happen.”
Lankford said removal from office of the chief executive should be the result of a disability that’s obvious to everyone. It should not be “I don’t like the president’s policies so I’m going to take over the White House.”
“That’s not how we run things in America,” he added.
The senator was asked his thoughts on his fellow Oklahoman, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, being named chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the wake of Sen. John McCain’s death.
“That’s a very big deal for Inhofe,” said Lankford. “He’s always been outspoken about our security situation. Senator Inhofe has prepared himself for this for years.”
The military has a strong presence in Oklahoma, he said, naming Fort Sill as well as major Air Force bases at Oklahoma City, Altus and Enid. Having Inhofe heading up the military establishment should assure that it will keep a leading role in defense.
But Lankford also said military installations should be for the benefit of the entire country and not one state.
To be secure over the long term, he said Oklahoma’s installations need community involvement and high-quality people employed at them, and their missions should be kept strong.