Confidants and Republican officials, as less than two weeks remain in President Donald Trump’s term, are reportedly considering drastic measures to remove him from office in the wake of the chaos at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, which left four dead.
Most of the Republicans who want Trump out via the 25th Amendment or other means are unnamed in news reports. However, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) came out publicly Thursday morning, writing on Twitter, “It’s with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked”:
It’s with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked. My statement: pic.twitter.com/yVyQrYcjuD
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 7, 2021
Moreover, Jay Timmons, once the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and now the head of the National Association of Manufacturers, is urging Vice President Pence to “seriously consider” invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
The 25th Amendment would allow Pence to step in if he and a majority of Cabinet members deem Trump no longer able to hold office. Nevertheless, if Trump contests that designation, it takes two-thirds of the House and Senate to override and remove him.
Ultimately, Pence and a joint session of Congress certified President-elect Biden’s victory over Trump early Thursday morning, verifying every state’s votes hours after chaos engulfed the Capitol.
In the wake of several news reports claiming some Republicans want to push Trump out before his term ends and the certification of Biden’s victory, the president said he will transition power to Democrat president-elect:
…fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
— Dan Scavino🇺🇸 (@DanScavino) January 7, 2021
Echoing other news outlets, Axios reported late on Wednesday that the measures include censure, impeachment, or invoking the 25th Amendment.
This talk is coming from current and former White House and GOP Hill aides, and Republican lobbyists and political consultants — all of whom have either embraced him or quietly tolerated him until now.
Senior State Department officials are encouraging 25th Amendment discussions along with other officials at the White House and other departments, according to two sources involved in the discussions.
No House or Senate Republican leaders are yet championing these ideas — and it’s too soon to know whether those talking about them are just letting off steam after a shock to the democracy, or whether a critical mass exists to proceed.
On Wednesday, Trump raged against perceived betrayals, the Washington Post reported.
If the Cabinet moves forward, it will reportedly mark the first time in American history officials removed a sitting president from office for a nonhealth-related issue.
The Amendment lays out guidelines to ensure a transition of power if a president is deemed unfit or unable to continue serving. It has been invoked three times but only due to the physical health of the president.
Chad Pergram of Fox News also reported that unnamed Republicans are considering impeaching and convicting the president.
“From colleague John Roberts: A well-placed source tells me there is talk swirling among Republicans in Congress of a possible 2nd impeachment proceeding – and conviction against Trump – to ensure he can’t run for re-election,” he wrote on Twitter.
According to Axios, Republicans are angry with the president for what they see as instigating an attack on American democracy, bringing disgrace to their party, and invading the sanctity of their chambers at the U.S. Capitol.
Asked if Trump bears at least some responsibility for the chaos at the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) told CNN’s Manu Raju, “I don’t think urging people to come to the Capitol was a good idea.
“The responsibility of violent criminal acts is with violent criminals,” Hawley added. Hawley has been one of Trump’s ardent supporters and objected to certifying the pro-Biden Electoral College votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania along with a small group of GOP senators.
As of 9:30 p.m., police had detained 52 rioters and protesters, including four for carrying pistols without a license and one for possession of a prohibited weapon, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee told reporters.
Of the 52 arrests, police made 26 on Capitol ground, Contee noted.
The unrest led to four individuals’ deaths, including a woman whom police shot inside the Capitol, identified as a 14-year veteran who served four tours.
“Police said three other people – a woman and two men – died after apparently suffering ‘separate medical emergencies’ near the Capitol grounds,” the Hill reported. Other demonstrators are reportedly hospitalized.
At least 14 of the officers who were overrun by the large crowds sustained injuries during the rioting, with one of them “pulled into the crowd and assaulted,” resulting in “serious injuries” that required hospitalization, Contee said. The chaos also sent another officer to the hospital.
“Police also recovered two pipe bombs near the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee,” the Hill noted.
With the help of the National Guard and other federal protective services, law enforcement successfully cleared the Capitol grounds, allowing lawmakers to resume their count of the electoral results at approximately 8:00 p.m.