As the New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous senior official in the Trump administration continues to rock Washington, Vice President Mike Pence and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway are refuting charges that the administration has considered removing Trump from office.
In interviews Sunday, Pence and Conway denied a claim in the Times op-ed that alleged “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” against Trump. Under the 25th Amendment, presidents may be removed from office by the vice president and a majority vote of “the principal officers of the executive department” if the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
When asked Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation if he had participated in any 25th Amendment conversations concerning Trump, Pence — who would ascend to the presidency if it were invoked — responded, “No. Never.”
“And why would we be, Margaret?” Pence asked host Margaret Brennan. “I mean, the truth of the matter is over the last eight years, despite what we heard from President Obama on Friday, I mean this country was struggling.”
Pence, who some had initially speculated could have been behind the anonymous op-ed, decried the Times piece as a “disgrace” Sunday and said he was “100% confident” no one on his vice presidential staff was behind the article. The Vice President added during an interview with Fox News Sunday that he would willingly take a lie detector test to prove he was not the article’s author.
Conway similarly dismissed the 25th Amendment charge on Meet the Press Sunday, telling host Chuck Todd, “People are openly talking about the 25th Amendment and impeachment — such nonsense.”
While suggestions of the 25th Amendment have persisted throughout Trump’s presidency, they’ve intensified in the wake of the Times piece and Bob Woodward’s upcoming book Fear: Trump in the White House. The two writings chronicle how Trump’s presidential authority is allegedly being checked by his own administration officials, who reportedly view him as amoral, behaving erratically and perhaps dangerous to national security.
“If senior administration officials think the president of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told CNN. “The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the vice president and senior officials think the president can’t do his job. It does not provide that senior officials go around the president — take documents off his desk, write anonymous op-eds”
Every one of these officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” Warren added. “It’s time for them to do their job.”