Top Democrats in Congress, including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called for the immediate removal of President Donald Trump from office for inciting protesters to overrun the Capitol.
Both leaders called on Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet of Trump to invoke the 25th Amendment. They threatened that if Pence and the secretaries refuse to proceed with this step, they would move forward with impeachment proceedings against Trump.
In a statement he released on Thursday, Schumer said that Congress should reconvene to kick-start the impeachment process against Trump if the VP and cabinet members fail to invoke the 25th Amendment. Pelosi, on her part, said lawmakers must be ready to go ahead with this step if there is no action from the VP or secretaries. She said the move would gain overwhelming support within her caucus.
They both agreed that even with less than two weeks left on his tenure, Trump proved a high risk to American democracy. Schumer particularly reiterated that every day that inches closer to his departure poses a severe risk to the country. He said the 25th Amendment would serve as the quickest route to remove Trump from office.
Schumer and Pelosi accused the president of inciting an insurrection against the country and America’s democracy remains unsafe each day that Trump remains in office.
There have been calls by several other lawmakers that Trump should be removed from office lest he plunges the country into further disrepute and carnage in the remaining weeks of his presidency after four persons were confirmed dead during an attack at the Capitol on Wednesday.
More than 100 lawmakers have released statements asking for the removal of Trump through 25th Amendment, impeachment, or voluntary resignation by the president. While most of these lawmakers are from the Democratic divide, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois is a Republican member.
Congress adjourned for the rest of the week shortly after certifying the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden. It is uncertain if both chambers would be able to reconvene just in time before Biden is inaugurated. As it is now, the Democrats will be having the majority seat in the Senate following the victory of Senators-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia.
Schumer told newsmen that he, alongside Pelosi, had tried to reach out to Pence requesting for the removal of Trump from office, but their entreaties were rebuffed by the vice president who wouldn’t speak to them on the phone.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is yet to make his stance known on Trump’s removal. The White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was also yet to make an official statement. Speaking through his transition spokesman, Biden said he would allow Pence, the secretaries, and Congress to take a decision on Trump’s removal.
The 25th Amendment allows the vice president and the majority of the cabinet members to remove the president. If the president counters the move, Congress would have to secure two-third majority votes to ratify the removal of the president from office.
Sources in the White House said there had been hushed discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment against Trump by staff. However, it is unknown if these discussions have gotten up to cabinet level.
There are indications that Trump may have lost support from some of his core allies in Congress after Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol, with some of them gradually distancing themselves from him.