Lawmaker Asks Pete Buttigieg 'Insulting' Question About Implementing 25th Amendment on President Biden

Rep. Troy Nehls suggested that Biden's recent fall off a bicycle and fumbling of words during a speech demonstrate a lack of mental fitness for the role of president

Pete Buttigieg attends the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 1, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty

Pete Buttigieg defended the current administration after a Republican congressman questioned Joe Biden's ability to serve as president.

On Tuesday, the Secretary of Transportation, 40, testified at a House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure committee hearing, during which Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) asked Buttigieg to "describe America in one single word," according to Yahoo! News.

Upon Buttigieg's answer — "home" — Nehls, 54, presented a printed image of the president with a quote that read: "AMERICA CAN BE DEFINED IN A SINGLE WORD: AWDSMFAFOOTHIMAAAFOOTAFOOTWHSCUSEME," according to Yahoo! News.

The congressman, who represents Texas' 22nd district, then spoke for roughly two consecutive minutes on his way toward asking Buttigieg whether he has spoken with any other members of 79-year-old Biden's cabinet about "implementing the 25th Amendment" on Biden, according to Yahoo! News.

Nehls referenced Biden's fall off a bicycle in June before asking the question, which prompted Buttigieg's response.

"First of all, I'm glad to have a president who can ride a bicycle," Buttigieg said. "And I will look beyond the insulting nature of that question."

President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, not shown, takes a bike ride in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Thursday, June 3, 2021. The Biden's are spending a few days in Rehoboth Beach to celebrate first lady Jill Biden's 70th birthday
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Nehls interrupted the rest of Buttigieg's response to repeat his question, prompting presiding committee member Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) to deny Nehls extra time to question Buttigieg, according to videos of the exchange posted to Twitter.

"Absolutely not," Malinowski said, in response to Nehls' request for an extra minute. "If you had yielded the Secretary some time to actually answer the ridiculous question, you might have actually gotten something."

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The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which Nehls referred to in his questioning, clarifies that the vice president assumes the presidency "in case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation." The amendment's second section affirms that the president may name a new vice president with Congress' approval.

The third and fourth sections of the amendment "detail the process for the vice president to serve as acting president if the president was unable to perform his or her official duties, and how to resolve disputes about the president's ability to discharge official powers," according to the Constitution Center.

In 2021, members of former president Donald Trump's cabinet reportedly considered using the amendment, which was ratified in 1967, to strip Trump of his power following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

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