On Tuesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to have President Donald J. Trump removed from office through use of the 25th Amendment. The action comes in response to the violence at the Capitol last week, with blame being thrust upon the president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, claiming the president was unfit to lead the nation. In a letter to Pelosi, Pence refused to take part, saying,
Every American was shocked and saddened by the attack on our nation's Capitol last week, and I am grateful for the leadership that you and other congressional leaders provided in reconvening Congress to complete the people's business on the very same day. It was a moment that demonstrated to the American people the unity that is still possible in Congress when it is most needed.
But now, with just eight days left in the President's term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment. I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution. Last week, I did not yield to the pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation.
As you know full well, the 25th Amendment was designed to address presidential incapacity or disability. Just a few months ago, when you introduced legislation to create a 25th Amendment Commission, you said, "[a] president's fitness for office must be determined by science and facts." You said then that we must be "very respectful of not making a judgment on the basis of a comment or behavior that we don't like, but based on a medical decision." Madam Speaker, you are right. Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation. Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.
After the horrific events of the last week, our Administration's energy is directed to ensuring an orderly transition. The Bible says that "for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven ... a time to heal, ... and a time to build up." That time is now. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic hardship for millions of Americans, and the tragic events of January 6th, now is the time to come together, now is the time to heal.
I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment. Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. I pledge to you that I will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power. So help me God.
Continuing to Push
Even after Pence's refusal to play a role and his appeal for unified leadership, the House voted to continue pushing to impose the amendment. The vote is being considered a symbolic rebuke.
However, today Congress moves forward with attempts to impeach President Trump. The charge: "incitement of insurrection."
Today, the House is meeting to vote on the impeachment article which was introduced Monday. The insurrection charge is based on the president calling his supporters to come to the Capitol Jan. 6 to show their support to his administration as Congress met in a joint session to certify the electoral college votes.
The impeachment measure, which has more than 200 Democratic co-sponsors, says Trump "gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government."
According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., if the House impeaches Trump, the earliest the Senate can take up the articles is Jan. 19, unless all 100 senators agree to come back early.
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