Jennifer Epstein, of Bloomberg News, tweets a copy of a letter sent from Our Only Vice-President to the Speaker of the House, in which he says that he will not use the 25th Amendment to take power as Acting President.
So, I have two points to make about this. First, I guess, is that I actually agree with OOVP that the clause in question was designed for a President who is entirely incapacitated, f’r’ex, comatose or perhaps in some form of dementia. It is fairly carefully written to prevent a Vice-President and Cabinet removing power from a President who was aware that it was happening and wanted to prevent it. Furthermore, while I disagree with why he thinks it’s inappropriate for the House to demand he take power, I think it’s inappropriate for the House to pass such a resolution. The House has a Constitutional provision for removing a President who it wants gone; that is impeachment and they should get on with it.
But my second point is that the 25th Amendment makes it the responsibility of the Vice-President to judge the President’s capacity or incapacity—and the letter conspicuously fails to state that judgment. I think it would be far more impressive and rhetorically devastating for the letter to include—and possibly to consist entirely of—a sentence like “It is my opinion that the President is fully capable of fulfilling his duties, and that he is doing so.” And yet there is no such sentence.