A growing number of lawmakers, cabinet members and business groups are calling for or discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove U.S. President Donald Trump from office after his supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
CNN, CBS News and ABC News, among others, have confirmed with White House sources that some members of Trump’s cabinet are discussing whether to make the move. None of the reports could determine if there was enough support for the idea or if the discussions involved Vice-President Mike Pence, who would have to sign off on the unprecedented action.
Separately, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Pence urging him to invoke the amendment, saying Trump’s statements as the violence mounted at the Capitol “revealed that he is not mentally sound.”
Despite just two weeks remaining in Trump’s term before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, the reports reflected a growing unease in Washington over Wednesday’s events and Trump’s reaction to them.
Earlier Wednesday, National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO Jay Timmons said Pence and the rest of Trump’s cabinet should make the move to “preserve democracy,” placing blame for the day’s chaotic events squarely on Trump.
“The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy,” Timmons said in a statement.
The 25th Amendment says the vice-president and a majority of principal officers of the executive departments “or of such other body as Congress” can provide a declaration to Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” At that point, the vice-president would immediately assume the powers of acting president.
The National Association of Manufacturers is a major advocacy and lobbying group that has a long history with lawmakers in Washington. It supported the Republican tax cuts passed in 2018 and other legislation that supports manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
Trump and other presidents have addressed the association’s board in past years.
The association says it represents 14,000 member companies across the country. Members of the board include top companies like ExxonMobil, Ford and General Electric, as well as Pfizer, which was behind the first coronavirus vaccine approved in the U.S.
Hundreds of Trump supporters marched to the Capitol to protest Congress’ counting of the Electoral College votes, spurred on by Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him.
Despite some Republican objections, Biden, a Democrat, is expected to be confirmed as the winner and the next president of the United States.
Some of those protesters stormed the Capitol building, forcing lawmakers to shelter in place and sparking violent confrontations with police. One woman has died after getting shot inside the building, D.C. police confirmed.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump had urged the massive crowd of protesters to march towards the Capitol, vowing he would “never concede” to Biden.
“We will never give up,” he said.
Even after telling his supporters to “go home,” Trump repeated his false claims of widespread election fraud, prompting critics to accuse him of inciting violence.
The National Association of Manufacturers’ statement was not the only call for Trump to be removed from office, despite only two weeks remaining in Trump’s term before Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said she is drawing up articles of impeachment, just over a year after Trump was impeached by the House only to be saved from removal by the Senate.
“We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath,” she tweeted.
Other Democratic lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined the calls for impeachment.
At least one sitting governor, Phil Scott of Vermont, also called for Trump to resign or be removed by either his cabinet or by Congress.
“There is no doubt that the President’s delusion, fabrication, self-interest, and ego have led us – step by step – to this very low, and very dangerous, moment in American history,” he tweeted.
“The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the President. Enough is enough.”
Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath also called on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, saying Trump “has refused to protect our democracy and must be removed.”
On Facebook, Josh Venable, a former chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Education under Trump said failure to invoke the 25th Amendment “is a complete dereliction of their duty and a betrayal of their Constitutional oath of office.”
Venable added, “But I won’t hold my breath.”
Former Republican congresswoman Barbara Comstock voiced her agreement with Venable’s comments on Twitter.
— With files from Emerald Bensadoun and the Associated Press