Democrat Suggests Invoking 25th Amendment Against Donald Trump Amid Government Shutdown Fight

Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, invoked the Constitution's 25th Amendment—which outlines a complicated process to remove a president from office—in a tweet about President Donald Trump on Friday.

Even in a presidency that has been defined by tumult, disarray, infighting and controversy, the last few days have been especially chaotic for Trump's White House. He announced his intent to pull U.S. troops from Syria via tweet, Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned (apparently in protest over Trump's policies) and, all the while, Trump announced he would refuse to sign a stopgap spending bill to fund the government into the new year if it did not include money for his long-promised border wall—even though it could trigger a partial government shutdown.

Then there's his tweets. He has been pushing for a wall, even somewhat oddly comparing it to the invention of the wheel on Friday morning— "There is nothing better," he said.

Trump also urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to eliminate the filibuster and find a way approve a border wall with a simple majority.

"Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!" Trump tweeted.

In response, Swalwell posted: "25th Amendment?"

Read more: Why the Trump presidency cannot be annulled

House Intelligence Committee member Representative Eric Swalwell of California, center, speaks a news conference on July 17, in Washington, D.C. Swalwell invoked the 25th Amendment to criticize President Donald Trump in a tweet on Friday. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While the 25th Amendment does allow for the president to be removed from office, it imposes a pretty high bar. The vice president and a majority of the Cabinet must determine that the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." But presidents can fight such decisions with a letter claiming they are fit for office. From there, the decision falls to Congress. If two-thirds of the House of Representatives and of the Senate determine the president—in this case Trump—is unfit, then that president can be removed.

In some ways, it seems like an far-reaching thing for Swalwell to mention—the amendment seems more likely to be invoked in the event of a president's death or incapacitating injury—but it has reportedly been brought up previously within Trump's administration.

Last September, The New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had discussed invoking the 25th Amendment—a claim Rosenstein disputed, saying he was joking, while noting he didn't believe there was any basis to invoke the amendment to remove Trump.

Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said in a September MSNBC interview that during her tenure, White House staffers often joked about the amendment when Trump did something they considered "unhinged."

"Whenever he did something that was just so insane and so crazy and unhinged, when he would flip positions from one hour to the next, we'd just hashtag it 'TFA' [25th Amendment] and keep moving," Manigault Newman said. "I hate to admit it, but that was the kind of hashtag that went around a lot in the White House."