Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Biden faces fallout, calls for 25th amendment after messy press conference



President Joe Biden is facing the fallout of a last-minute, messy press conference late Thursday where he attempted to defend his mental fitness but appeared to only amplify concerns.

Biden called the press conference after the Special Counsel tasked with looking into his handling of classified documents announced Biden had committed a crime but should not be charged.

In the 388-page report, Special Counsel Robert Hur went on to list several examples of Biden’s mental lapses, calling him an “elderly man with poor memory” whom a jury would find too sympathetic. The report said Biden could not remember when he was Vice President or when his son died, among other things.

During the press conference, Biden defended his memory and touted that he was not charged but proceeded to make multiple gaffes and memory lapses that only raised more concerns.

In response, several Republicans have called for the 25th amendment to be invoked, arguing that if Biden is not fit to stand trial, he is not fit to be president. The 25th Amendment to the Constitution makes clear that the Vice President should take over for the president if a majority of his cabinet members say he is not fit to continue in the office.

“Merrick Garland has a duty to invoke the 25th Amendment to his fellow Cabinet members,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, Friday morning. “Or prosecute Biden. If he won’t prosecute, then invoke the 25th now.”

Republicans in the House echoed that call.

“It’s time to brush off the 25th Amendment,” Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, wrote on X. “Joe Biden is completely mentally UNFIT for president, even his own DOJ says so! We’ve known this for a long time, but now Biden’s health has become a national security issue. REMOVE!”

In one glaring moment during the press conference when responding to a reporter’s question about the Israel-Gaza conflict, Biden appeared to confuse Egypt and Mexico.

Biden also appeared to forget where he got a rosary that belonged to his son after saying he carries it with him every day.

Biden’s gaffes came just moments after Biden defended his memory and attempted to dodge reporters’ tough questions about his mental fitness.

“In defending his mental sharpness, Biden just mixed up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote online. “This train wreck of a press conference confirms the need for the 25th Amendment.”

Biden’s press conference slips came as reporters peppered him with questions about his mental fitness, pointing to concerns raised in the Special Counsel’s report.

“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” the report said. “Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him – by then a former president well into his eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

During the Thursday press conference, Biden made a point that he cooperated with investigators and handed over all documents. He said that the case against Trump, who faces criminal charges for his alleged mishandling of classified documents, is different because Trump did not cooperate with federal authorities.

In a statement in response, former President Donald Trump blasted what he called a “two-tiered justice system” and the “selective prosecution.”

“Biden took the Documents in his ‘mental primetime,’” Trump said. “He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this, and he wasn’t protected by the Presidential Records Act. I was cooperative with the Investigators. Crooked Joe Biden didn’t – Just the opposite, following the usual, corrupt Democrat Playbook. He ‘willfully retained’ documents. This is Scam Justice – Deranged Jack Smith and his Thugs should immediately drop the totally discredited Documents Hoax against me.”

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment lays out a process for removing the president and how it should be done if the president resists.

From the 25th Amendment:

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.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days 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. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.