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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

25th Amendment: No Perry Mason moment from Pence


(UPDATED) Don’t hold out for V.P. Pence admitting Pres. Trump is mentally unfit and invoking the 25th Amendment. The Perry Mason moment is a “thing,” in other words, it has a Wikipedia entry:

In court proceedings in the United States, a Perry Mason moment is said to have occurred whenever information is unexpectedly (to most present), and often dramatically, introduced into the record that changes the perception of the proceedings greatly and often influences the outcome. Often it takes the form of a witness’s answer to a question, but it can sometimes come in the form of new evidence. It takes its name from Perry Mason, a mid-20th century television series where such dramatic reversals occurred, often in the form of witnesses confessing to crimes others were accused of in response to the sudden exposure of an inconsistency in their alibi. Such moments were frequent in the radio series and the original novels by ErlE Stanley Gardner.

The breaking news is that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe said in an interview aired on Thursday that top Justice Department officials were so alarmed by President Trump’s decision to fire James B. Comey that they discussed whether to recruit cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office. These discussions occurred on May 16, 2017.

It is noteworthy that mental health professionals were beginning to come out publicly about their opinion that Trump was mentally unfit for office in the spring of 2017 before the Comey firing. In April a conference was held at Yale University (right) on the subject. Author Gail Sheehy, a presenter, wrote “At Yale, Psychiatrists Cite Their ‘Duty to Warn’ About an Unfit President.”

I published the following on April 21, 2017: Articles about Yale conference on Trump’s MENTAL FITNESS TO SERVE: Shrinks debate Duty to Warn.

The founder of the Duty to Warn movement, Dr. John Gartner, published this article in USA Today on May 4, 2017: “Donald Trump’s malignant narcissism is toxic.”

More than 53,000 people have signed our petition, aimed at mental health professionals, stating Trump should be removed under the 25th Amendment because he is too mentally ill to competently serve. At a conference on the Duty To Warn last month at Yale medical school, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton warned against creeping “malignant normality.” Under a malignantly narcissistic leader, alternate facts, conspiracy theories, racism, science denial and delegitimization of the press become not only acceptable but also the new normal. If we do not confront this evil, it will consume us.

Vice President Pence has been on the air denying that he knew anything about this, and besides he says how could the president who has accomplished so much for the good and great benefit to the nation and the world be mentally unfit for office? This is a belief which is in his head, a noggin which resides, well, use you imagination where his head resides.

Does anybody expect Vice President Pence to say anything different? After all he has rarely appeared in a photo standing behind Donald Trump without gazing at the back of the president’s head in a state of rapture as if he sees a halo floating in the air above his master’s head.

The simple fact is that even if Trump’s accomplishments matched his rhetoric, this wouldn’t preclude the possibility that he was psychologically unbalanced to the point of not being able to make rational decisions. Being rational is obviously a sine qua non for holding any position of grave responsibility, let alone being the president.

As much as we’d like to see the vice president have a Perry Mason moment when he’s confronted by irrefutable proof that the president was so psychologically impaired (whether he committed treason or not) that the 25th Amendment had to be brought into play it remains highly unlikely.

Even though invocation of the 25th Amendment would make Pence the acting president no matter how manifestly unfit even to the point of psychotic episodes the president becomes, the veep either literally worships the president or fears that the president, unable to ever fire him, would retaliate in some horrific way.

I could be wrong. But right now I’m not betting on Pence having a Perry Mason moment.

UPDATE; FEB. 15, 2019

Andrew McCabe’s latest revelations show how Trump is his own worst enemy

Excerpts (emphasis in bold and red for danger which I think are indicattive of Trump’s psychopathology added):

McCabe’s account adds further detail to a picture of a president who is his own worst enemy. Again and again, Trump’s narcissism and insecurity led him to put himself in more jeopardy than he was already in. Had he been able to control himself, he might have gotten away with a lot more………..


And at every step along the way, when any sensible person would have exercised care and restraint, Trump has acted like a guilty man, lying about everything, launching screeching attacks on anyone who’s critical of him and saying those who cooperate with prosecutors are “rats.” It’s no accident that both Comey and McCabe came away from their conversations with him thinking that he reminded them of a mob boss.

Of all Trump’s manifold character flaws, his bottomless need for validation and the unhinged way he reacts to criticism may be what gets him in the most trouble. Again and again we’ve seen that the targets of his pressure tactics and attacks, rather than backing off, become more convinced that they have to hold him accountable. And there are only so many people he can fire.


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