‘Who’s Schlesinger now? Something that may have happened in the Nixon era could be relevant today‘, Pearls and Irritations, 5 October 2017 updated
Update 19 November 2017: More on this issue in a post from the BBC (with even more at links about Senate discussion). Suggests there is real concern at the prospect of a president going rogue and there has been considerable thought about how to react.
Update 23 October 2017: Matthew Kahn in Foreign Policy looks at the history of arrangements for replacing presidents, including via the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution (presidential disability). He asks how far can President Trump unravel before the 25th Amendment becomes a live option. He is not sanguine.
Update 14 October 2017: more from The Guardian‘s Jonathan Freeland, with some links to other material.
No, the only way to remove Trump is for Democrats to do the hard graft of organising, campaigning and winning elections – starting with the midterms of November 2018. So long as Republicans control the House and Senate, Trump is safe.
I’m glad that Mattis, Kelly and the others are there to grab Trump’s wrist should he reach for the nuclear button. But even that is only a small comfort. A democracy that relies on a group of generals to frustrate an elected leader is in a bad way. The president does indeed pose a clear and present danger to America and the world. But democracy is what put him there – and only democracy can get him out.
Update 5 October 2017 (5 pm): Republican Senator Bob Corker said on Wednesday Washington time that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly ‘help separate our country from chaos’.
‘I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos, and I support them very much’, the Senator said. He is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Trump reportedly considered him in 2016 for the post of Secretary of State. He is not seeking re-election in 2018.
Most historians believe that President Nixon’s Secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger, took steps to keep an erratic Nixon away from the nuclear button as his presidency (and Nixon himself) crumbled in 1974. Might something similar happen today?
References for the article in Pearls and Irritations