Vice President Mike Pence is ruling out invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power, less than a week after the president fomented the violent insurrection at the Capitol.
The House convened Tuesday night to vote on urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump with a Cabinet vote. But shortly before that, Pence said he would not do so in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In the letter issued late Tuesday, Pence said the mechanism should not be used “as a means of punishment or usurpation” and reserved for cases of medical or mental incapacitation. Pelosi has called on Pence to secure the majority of the Cabinet and vote to declare Trump unfit to serve.
As the House appears on the cusp of a bipartisan impeachment of Trump, Pence encouraged Congress to avoid actions to “further divide and inflame the passions of the moment” and that it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”
Pelosi has said if Pence rejects use of the 25th Amendment, the House will move to impeach him. Already, at least three Republicans have said they would vote for that.
Already scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be twice impeached. His incendiary rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now in the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.
Three Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, announced they would vote to impeach Trump on Wednesday, cleaving the party’s leadership.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” said Cheney in a statement. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Reps. John Katko of New York, a former federal prosecutor, and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force veteran, said they, too, would vote to impeach.