Washington — Top Democratic lawmakers and at least one Republican representative called for President Trump to be removed from office over his incitement and response to Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the soon-to-be majority leader once Democrats control the Senate, endorsed the use of the 25th Amendment or impeachment to oust Mr. Trump, 13 days before the end of his term.
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” he said in a statement. “The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment.”
If Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet decline to remove the president, Schumer called on Congress to impeach and convict him to remove him from office.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the move to pursue the 25th Amendment soon after, and threatened to initiate impeachment proceedings if Pence and the Cabinet fail to act.
“In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation, and our people,” Pelosi said at a press conference at the Capitol Thursday. “I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment. If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.”
Some Cabinet officials have discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment following the crisis at the Capitol, CBS News reported, but those discussions had not resulted in a formal presentation to the vice president as of Wednesday evening.
Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger became the first GOP lawmaker to endorse the move. “All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself,” he said in a two-minute-long video posted to Twitter. “It is for this reason that I call for the vice president and members of the Cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people and that we have a sane captain of the ship.”
Pence announced just after 3:40 a.m. Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden won the presidency, after Congress completed the counting of the Electoral College votes. The affirmation came hours after an assault by rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to halt the process.
Chaos erupted at the Capitol as an angry mob of rioters — many waving Trump flags or carrying Trump gear — breached the building. Four people died during the assault. Authorities said one woman was shot and killed by police and three people died from medical emergencies.
The violence sent members of Congress fleeing from the floor, and Congress recessed for nearly six hours before returning to complete the count.