Ada Fisher: When should the president step aside?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 8, 2020

By Ada Fisher

The presidency sits precariously, not just in the hands of the people. But under the 25th Amendment, it may be deemed void if the vice president and cabinet feel he/she is unable to continue his/her duties.

With the approval of the speaker of the House or Senate president pro tem, a vote may be taken to remove that person from office, which may be subject to an appeal by the president.

The 28th president, Woodrow Wilson, is used as a comparison to President Donald Trump for both’s handling of a pandemic from which they would become infected. Both show signs of misreading the severity of the epidemic, which may have led to the death of many in its wake. For Wilson, in the midst of developing strategic alliances abroad underlying his vision for a League of Nations, the Spanish Flu of 1918 fiercely struck him. Though he had a massive stroke in 1919, he was allowed to continue incapacitated in office until the end of his term reportedly allowing his wife, Edith to rule in his place. Blaming the president’s judgment in both cases forgets to blame the virus for not telling us upfront its secrets, which would allow better detection, treatment and prevention.

Doing a bit of forensic pathology on these cases, one might theorize that Wilson’s stroke may have been the flu’s sequela, just as the horrendous side effects of COVID-19 shows similar, devastating side effects for many of its victims.

One must worry, given the known turn of events for President Trump’s course history, whether there are long-term concerns which must be brought into play. Going two steps further, former Vice President Joe Biden’s history of brain surgery and fumbling speech as well as major gaffe’s make one also a bit concerned with his presidential run. Maybe President Jimmy Carter is right about the possible compromised ability of people over 70 to steer the often-muddy waters that come with the office.

The “worration” over the capacity of our candidates to serve is somewhat tempered by the constitutional process which has in place steps in place to address such issues.

Troubling is the “all-in posture” of too many to remove people or oust them without due process. The impact of this on laws in other areas of personal life and conduct can be brought into question. If the rights of the president to privacy regarding health are to be compromised, what is to stop such from happening to patients with “non-essential” jobs and also diseases such as cancer, seizures or severe injuries from all types of mishaps? Under the American’s with Disabilities Act, the nation’s employers are not allowed to discriminate, especially if a reasonable accommodation can be offered.

As one who did occupational health for over 20 years, it was troublesome when employers wanted access to personal health information. For no matter what is said, such is used to affect employment prospects. This is also an issue when employers are self-insured as with those who work for the government, where their information is available.

What those advocating universal health care don’t understand is that one gives up any semblance of privacy for this supposed benefit.

Any good soldier, as should their commander-in-chief, understand that duty, honor and valor demands one should always put the nation first if one is compromised beyond one’s ability to effectively carry out one’s duty.

Ada M. Fisher is a former medical director for a Fortune 500 company, licensed teacher, retired physician and county school board member. She was the N.C. Republican national committeewoman from 2008 to 2020.