How does Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution work?

Following the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021, a growing number of Republican leaders and Cabinet officials said that they believe Donald Trump should be removed from office before January 20. Four of them called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, and two others said the president should be impeached.

The 25th Amendment allows the vice-president to become acting president when a president is unable to continue his duties, if for example, he or she becomes incapacitated due to a physical or mental illness.

Impeaching Trump might be the appropriate remedy and using impeachment to remove him from office would bar him from running for President again.

Impeachment takes time, and might not pass. The 25th Amendment, which has periodically been discussed as a means of last resort to remove a rogue or incapacitated president, would be a faster route to removing Trump, but the bar it sets is incredibly high.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 12: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump traveled to the Army versus Navy Football Game at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

The part the amendment being discussed is section four, which allows the vice-president and a majority of the cabinet to declare President Trump unable to perform his duties.

They would need to sign a letter to the speaker of the House and the presiding officer of the Senate declaring the president unfit to govern, or incapable “of discharging the powers and duties of his office”. At this point, Mr Pence would automatically take over.

The president is given the chance to offer a written response, and if he contests the finding, then it falls on Congress to decide. Any vote in the Senate and House of Representatives ordering the president’s removal requires a two-thirds majority.

Until the issue is resolved, the vice-president would act as president.

However, there has been no indication that Mr Pence, plus at least eight members of the cabinet, support invoking the amendment and there are reports that he is opposed the move.

If the vice-president fails to act, Mrs Pelosi has indicated she would convene the House to launch their second impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump.