Mike Pence should invoke the 25th Amendment within days to remove Donald Trump from office, Democrats have said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she intends to bring forward a resolution calling on Pence to invoke the constitutional provision, which allows for a vice president to take over the presidency with agreement from cabinet in the event that a president is deemed to be unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
Lawmakers fear that Trump is increasingly dangerous and detached from reality after he incited the storming of the US Capitol, and that he may cause irreparable harm to the country ahead of his exit from office on 20 January.
Pence, who the mob storming the Capitol had reportedly vowed to execute over his ceremonial role in certifying Joe Biden’s victory, is yet to publicly comment on calls for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.
Mike Pence told to activate 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump.
In a letter to Democratic colleagues on Sunday (10 January), Pelosi confirmed the House would vote on Tuesday (12 January) on a resolution calling on Pence directly to “convene and mobilise” the cabinet “to declare president Donald Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president”.
The resolution notes that the “insurrectionary mob” at the Capitol had “threatened the safety and lives of the vice president, the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate”, chanting “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where’s Nancy?” during the attack.
It adds that the Trump has “demonstrated repeatedly, continuously and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office” by encouraging the mob and failing to immediately condemn the rioters.
Pelosi says that Pence will have 24 hours to respond to the request to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the president incapable of executing the duties of his office.
Democrats will press forward with impeachment.
If he does not, Democrats will proceed with a measure to impeach Donald Trump for a second time, with charges of “incitement to insurrection” levelled against the president.
Outside of the 25th Amendment, impeachment is the only measure capable of coercively removing a sitting president. However, removal of a president under impeachment procedures requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate in addition to approval from the House.
As Republicans currently hold 50 of the 100 Senate seats and impeachment trials typically take weeks, it is unlikely the measure will succeed without a significant intervention from GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell has said that a Senate impeachment trial would not begin until 20 January, which is already the day the president’s term in office ends.