Published January 11, 2021
UB political scientist James E. Campbell says invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office in the wake of the violence Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol will further divide an already-divided nation.
“If you want to heal the nation, I can’t think of a worse idea than using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. It’s like pouring gasoline on a bonfire,” says Campbell, UB Distinguished Professor of Political Science.
Campbell studies polarization and has written extensively on the subject, including his book “Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America,” which was named to Choice’s 2016 list of Outstanding Academic Titles.
He says that even if lawmakers pull back from calls to invoke the 25th Amendment, the nation will remain deeply divided.
“I just don’t see people coming together, especially after a bitterly divisive campaign and contentious post-campaign controversies,” Campbell says. “There is a substantial divide over whether the 2020 presidential election was a free and fair election. Though most Democrats and the mainstream media believe that it was, polls indicate about three out of four Republicans believe it was not. This will, undoubtedly, fuel further polarized conflict in the coming years.”
One excellent way to heal the nation would be for Republican leadership — I daresay including Professor Campbell — to acknowledge that Biden and Harris won in a free and fair election. The lamented "substantial divide" is the product of a relentless propaganda operation. In court — where, unlike on FOX News, lying has consequences — no single shred of credible evidence of electoral malfeasance was adduced. The judgments were rendered by Republican, even Trump-appointed judges.
It astonishes me that congressional calls for accountability are here characterized, by a reputed expert, as the source of divisiveness, whereas in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection — now demonstrably abetted by elected Republican officials — we are urged to let bygones be bygones.
"If you want to heal the nation, I can’t think of a worse idea than using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump." For one: How about allowing a person who could be considered the top political authority in the country — and who very likely is guilty of committing multiple criminal acts — to walk away without consequences? Mitt Romney is correct. One major reason we find ourselves in this predicament is that we allowed lies to be perpetrated continually. The antidote to lies is the truth, not ignorance of the truth. The truth in this situation is that people who willingly commit criminal acts should have those acts recognized as such with appropriate actions meted. The truth needs to be told — over and over.