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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Edith Wilson and the Twenty Fifth Amendment

The Twenty Fifth Amendment is in the news now. Many say Donald Trump cannot fulfill his duties as President because he might be crazy. See Mika and Joe. The Twenty Fifth Amendment passed in 1967 was created  in part because of what happened with the Woodrow Wilson Presidency and Edith Wilson's assumption of presidential power. Up to that point Clause 6 of Article 11 of the Constitution was vague. It said basically if the President can't fulfill his duties someone should take over. It did not even specify the Vice President.

When Woodrow Wilson had his stroke and Edith and Cary Grayson covered up his condition they were not really violating the Constitution. Few could say who would declare Wilson unfit and when Secretary Lansing asked Dr. Grayson if he he might do it Grayson refused and dared anyone to come forth and push the issue. No one did. So Edith ran the White House and essentially became our First Woman President.

But now  the 25th Amendment makes it clear. If the Vice President and his cabinet decide the President is unfit then the VP becomes President unless the President protests and then it goes to Congress for a vote. Edith Wilson would have been powerless if Vice President Marshall had taken the  inititative and had the cabinet vote on Wilson's ability to rule. Marshall would have become President and the Edith Wilson Presidency would have not happened.

So now we have Trump. Would Pence undertake such a vote? Not a chance. But at the least people know there is a vehicle now for Presidential succession should Trump become insane.

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Books by William Hazelgrove