2 senators say Biden debate performance raises 25th Amendment concerns

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Joe Biden in the first presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, June 27, 2024.
Joe Biden in the first presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, June 27, 2024.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Tyler O’Neil
The Daily Signal

Members of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet should consider invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president, two sitting U.S. senators suggested. They said Biden’s performance in the first presidential debate against former President Donald Trump raised questions about his ability to perform his office.

“We’ve definitely entered 25th Amendment territory,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote on X.

“If you think Democrats in Washington and across the country aren’t talking about the 25th Amendment right now, you’re crazy,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote. “It’s not a question of whether he should be on the ballot. That ship has sailed. It’s a question of whether he can serve as president right now.”

The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, sets up a process by which the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet can notify the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office, enabling the vice president to become acting president. Under the amendment, the president can submit a written declaration that no inability exists, at which time he will resume his office.

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Throughout the debate, Biden spoke with a raspy voice and made numerous verbal stumbles, including segments of rambling.

If Vice President Kamala Harris and the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment and Biden does not stop them, Harris would become acting president.

Harris dismissed concerns about Biden’s performance in the debate.

“A lot of people who are fans and supporters of President Biden or who are Democrats or who are just worried about the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the presidency feel like this was not a strong performance tonight from President Biden,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked Harris. “I want to hear your assessment and how you respond to those critics.”

“Well, it was a slow start, there’s no question about that, but I thought it was a strong finish,” the vice president responded. “What we know is that when you look at the two sides of the ledger, what we had in Joe Biden is someone who wanted to have a debate based on facts, based on truth and in Donald Trump we have what we have come to expect, which is someone who will push lies and distract from the reality of the damage he has created and continues to create in our country.”

Harris said that Biden had done “historic work” and did not bring up the 25th Amendment.

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Biden failed to demonstrate that he was up to the job.

“Joe Biden had one thing he had to do tonight and he didn’t do it,” McCaskill said. “He had one thing he had to accomplish, and that was reassure America that he was up to the job at his age, and he failed at that tonight.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Biden is “not capable of being commander in chief.” He did not mention the 25th Amendment.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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