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January 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Vice President Mike Pence shut down calls to back early removal of President Donald Trump from office via the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Tuesday, reminding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter of her own recent words on the proper use of the constitutional procedure.
Scores of protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol building last week, following the “March to Save America” rally where the president said supporters would march “over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” where “we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen-and-women” who were meeting to formally object to the certification of electoral votes from a handful of states.
As covered live by LifeSiteNews, viral videos showed groups of protesters engaging in physical altercations with police, pushing against security barricades, breaking through a window, trespassing in congressional offices, and climbing on walls, causing the vote certification to be suspended and lawmakers to be evacuated from the chambers. While many were allowed to enter by police and simply walked through the building (which is normally open to the public) after the initial breach, there were several deaths, including a protester shot by Capitol Hill police, a protestor trampled amid the chaos, a police officer whose death is being investigated as a potential murder, and several due to unspecified “medical emergencies.”
Trump told the breachers to “go home in peace” via tweets and video message, yet a coalition of Democrats and establishment Republicans quickly decided that Trump had “incited” the violence, some by blaming his support of marching to the building (which was a pre-planned part of the event, advertised prior to Trump’s remarks), others by blaming Trump’s refusal to concede in the first place.
Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened Sunday to move forward with impeachment if Pence, who has become the subject of some pro-Trump ire for concluding he lacked the authority to send electoral votes back to the states, did not back removing Trump via the 25th Amendment, and on Monday House Democrats unveiled the official resolution to impeach the president for “incitement of insurrection.”
The 25th amendment, intended to ensure a vice president can quickly take over if a president is incapacitated (such as by medical emergency), provides for a vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to submit to Congress a “written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” and for a president “resume the powers and duties of his office” once that inability is alleviated.
PENCE writes a letter to Pelosi saying he won’t invoke the 25th Amendment pic.twitter.com/PiMAzTInzB
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 13, 2021
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence wrote. “Last week, I did not yield to 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,” he reminded Pelosi. “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 ‘[v]ery 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 were 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.”
With the 25th Amendment option effectively quashed, all eyes turn to Congress to see how many Republicans will ultimately join Democrats in pushing to impeach. Senate Majority (soon to be Minority) Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he will not reconvene the Senate before January 19 for an impeachment trial, meaning that any such trial under the incoming Democrat majority would occur after Trump is out of office, and would be strictly about disqualifying him from a potential 2024 candidacy.