FLASHBACK: Journalists Used to LOVE the 25th Amendment Before Biden

February 16th, 2024 1:23 PM

Does anyone remember back when the 25th Amendment could suddenly become a hot topic of discussion on the airwaves for pretty much any reason whatsoever? It was back between about 2017 and 2020, coincidentally around the same time that the media’s least favorite person ever was president of the United States. Now that there’s a Democrat in office, there seems to exist no possible combination of incompetence and overt senility that could force anyone in the corporate TV news world to suggest invoking the 25th.

Most readers will at least vaguely remember the 25th Amendment being brought up with relative frequency back during the Trump years. But it’s hard to emphasize just how in love with it the corporate media really were. As one of just two procedural tools that could be used to remove a sitting president from office, liberal journalists clung to it like a security blanket.

We’ve put together a compilation to demonstrate the extent of the media’s love for the 25th Amendment under Trump. Just for the added challenge, we left out clips from 2017, which was far and away the year most heavily laden with talk of using it.



Admittedly, even we were surprised at just how much it was actually invoked; we found over 600 search results for “25th amendment” on Nexis alone, and that’s TV transcripts only.

Former West Wing writer and current MSNBC conspiracy theorist Lawrence O’Donnell deserves a special mention here. This man was talking about the 25th Amendment within less than a month of Trump taking office, and he spent the next three and a half years bragging about how early he’d brought it up.

In O’Donnell’s mind, basically everything was 25th Amendment territory. He brought on multiple deeply political psychologists to diagnose the President with all manner of neuroses that supposedly rendered him incapable of serving. That ugly brand of credentialism ended up catching on, and soon both O’Donnell’s colleagues and various CNN hosts were wheeling doctors in front of cameras to wring their hands and gravely opine about Trump’s disturbed cognitive state.

Fast forward to 2024, and we’ve got Robert Hur’s report telling us what most Americans already knew: President Joe Biden is extremely old, and maybe kind of senile. Yet oddly, the only mentions of the 25th Amendment we've been able to find on SnapStream or Nexis from the past week have been in the form of “Republicans Pounce!” stories.

On the February 9 edition of CNN News Central during the 11 a.m. Eastern hour, host Sara Sidner said of Hur’s report:

Now the GOP lawmakers are using this as a springboard to call for Biden’s removal from office under the 25th Amendment. The House GOP leadership saying, quote, “He is certainly unfit for the Oval Office.”

The following day on that same network, host Chris Wallace complained that Congressional Republicans were “piling on” in calling for the President’s removal.

Where are all the mercenary psychiatrists with their politically-motivated armchair diagnoses? Where are all the excited conversations about the President “losing it?” Why isn’t Lawrence O’Donnell out there chanting “25th Amendment” every third sentence?

That’s all rhetorical, of course. Obviously it’s because Biden is a Democrat, and that means it’s the media’s job to protect him, not to go after him. Admittedly, the odds of the 25th Amendment being used to remove this President from office are no higher than they were under the previous administration. But boy, is the corporate media coverage different.