Since Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, the U.S. president has been unsure of his position. It could be that he will be impeached in the last ten days of his presidency, although this does not seem very likely as yet. But if that happens … Can he then run for president again in 2024?
The short answer: it depends. If Trump is sacked via the so-called 25th Amendment, he will indeed be allowed to try again. But if he’s impeached, he may not.
The long answer:
The consequences of the ’25th amendment’ route
The 25th amendment allows Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet to jointly decide to send the president home if he is not fit to hold office at the time. The vice president then takes over his duties.
However, the chance that Pence will (still) make work of that dismissal is small: according to various sources in Washington, he does not like it. It is also debatable whether he will get that cabinet majority together. Moreover, Trump can still appeal. Incidentally, Pence wants to ‘keep the option’ in case the president creates even more chaos, according to an initiate at CNN.
But if, contrary to expectations, it does happen? Then Trump can do whatever he wants in the next presidential election. After all, the 25th Amendment route would only make Trump leave because of him at this time is not suitable for his position. It says nothing about the future.
Why is Trump so under fire from fellow politicians?
- Trump didn’t literally ask his supporters to storm the Capitol, but he played a part in it. For months he proclaimed without any evidence that electoral fraud had been committed. A few days before the storm, he called on his fans to demonstrate against the election results in Washington. ‘Be there, be wild’, he tweeted. On the spot, he asked them to go to the Capitol. Only hours after the storm did he call on the rioters to leave, but not without emphasizing that he “loved them” and that they were “very special.”
The consequences of a successful impeachment
With Pence not keen on expelling Trump, Democrats are preparing for a so-called impeachment: a political lawsuit in which the president is charged with the ultimate goal of being impeached.
There was also such an impeachment at the end of 2019. Trump was then charged with abuse of power over the Ukraine issue and congressional obstruction. The charges were nowhere near the required two-thirds majority in the Senate, so Trump was allowed to remain president.
Again, an impeachment case (after all preparations and a majority in the House of Representatives) would again require a two-thirds majority in the Senate to oust Trump. That’s very ambitious, even as many of the Republicans felt Trump’s conduct around the Capitol storm was too far. In addition, time is ticking. The previous impeachment case took months, now there are only ten days to go before Trump packs all his bags to make way for Joe Biden.
Anyway, it could still be an impeachment case with a two-thirds majority. In that case, Trump will be (politically) convicted and deposed anyway. After that, there can be a vote for a second penalty: disqualification from future presidential races. This requires ‘only’ a simple majority: half of the votes + 1.
So yes: in the event of a successful impeachment, Congress can decide to disqualify Trump. But whether it comes from it? There is still a long way to go for that. Moreover, in record time.