WASHINGTON: Top Democratic leadership has urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution to remove President Donald Trump from office for his “incitement of insurrection”, a day after his supporters attacked the US Capitol in a violent breach.
The 25th Amendment allows for the president to be removed from office by the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet.
“The president’s dangerous and seditious acts necessitate his immediate removal from office,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the two Democratic leaders tried to reach out to Pence on the issue but were unable to talk to him.
“This morning, we placed a call to Vice President Pence to urge him to invoke the 25th Amendment which would allow the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the president for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses. We have not yet heard back from the vice president,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.
“We look forward to hearing from the vice president as soon as possible and to receiving a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honour their oath to the Constitution and the American people,” the two Democratic leaders said.
In an unprecedented assault on democracy in the US, thousands of supporters of outgoing President Trump stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday and clashed with police, resulting in four deaths and interrupting a constitutional process by Congress to affirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the election.
On Thursday, both Pelosi and Schumer at separate news conferences said they will move impeachment proceedings in the Congress if Trump was not removed from office through the 25th Amendment.
“In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people. I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment,” Pelosi said.
“If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. That is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus and the American people, by the way,” she told reporters.
“Justice will be done to those who carried out these acts, which were acts of sedition and acts of cowardice. To those whose purpose was to deter our responsibility, you have failed. You did not divert the Congress from our solemn constitutional purpose to validate the overwhelming election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president of the United States,” she said.
Schumer told reporters that if the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach Trump, who has less than two weeks in office.
Trump is conceding to President-elect Joe Biden and condemning the violent supporters who stormed the nation’s Capitol Wednesday.
In a new video message, Trump said America is, and must always be a nation of law and order.
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. I immediately deployed the national guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders,” Trump said in the recorded video posted on YouTube on Thursday and released by the White House.
The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy, he added.
“To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay. We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored,” he said.
He is also speaking out against the violence, calling it a “heinous attack” that left him “outraged by the violence lawlessness and mayhem.”
Trump did not address his role in inciting the violence.
But he is telling his supporters that, while he knows they are “disappointed,” he wants them to know “our incredible journey is only just beginning.”
In an unprecedented assault on democracy in the US, thousands of supporters of outgoing President Trump stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday and clashed with police, resulting in four deaths and interrupting a constitutional process by Congress to affirm the victory of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the November 3 election.
Trump also accepted the result of the election and pledged a “smooth transition” of power to Biden.
“Now, Congress has certified the results a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” Trump said.
“We must get on with the business of America. My campaign vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote and so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy,” said the outgoing president.
Trump said that he continues to strongly believe that the US must reform election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections.
Observing that the moment calls for healing and reconciliation, Trump said that 2020 has been a challenging time for Americans.
“A menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes, damaged our economy and claimed countless lives,” he said.
“Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on earth will require all of us working together. It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community, and family,” he said.
Earlier White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the violence at the Capitol Hill was appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way.
“We condemn it — the president and this administration — in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable, and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.
“Those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for. The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live in safety, peace, and freedom,” she said.
Trump, who hours before the video had continued to claim falsely that the election had been stolen from him, said that “serving as your president has been the honour of my lifetime”.
( Photo:A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed the Capitol building.)