Mike Pence, despite having political views based in unhinged extremism, is a rather pragmatic political operator. Even if he wants to oust Donald Trump via the 25th Amendment and take over himself, he knows there’s no point in publicly speaking a negative word about Trump until he’s lined up the majority of the cabinet. So we don’t know what he’s plotting behind the scenes. But we do know that his odds of being able to pull off the 25th just got much easier this week.
The majority of Donald Trump’s cabinet consists of people who are personally loyal to him. The premise is that these people have strong reason to want to keep Trump in power, and thus would never go along with the 25th Amendment. But when Trump decided that he needed a damaged Jeff Sessions out of the way in order to carry out his next desperate phase of trying to fend off the Russia scandal, a funny thing happened. Suddenly the other loyalists began figuring out that it’s a one way street – and some of them began saying so behind closed doors.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now so put off by Trump that he’s taking unspecified time off from the job. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has also disappeared on a strangely timed “vacation.” Other members of Trump’s cabinet, who have shown him personal loyalty and are now seeing how callously Trump is trying to mow down the eminently loyal Sessions, are surely rethinking their own loyalty to Trump as we speak.
So when it comes to Mike Pence’s Constitutional requirement to convince a majority of the cabinet to join him in invoking the 25th Amendment, the whole thing just became much more feasible. Thus the odds of it being invoked are sharply increasing as we speak.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report