Mike Pence won’t act to remove Donald Trump, says nation needs healing2 min read . Updated: 13 Jan 2021, 07:30 AM IST
- Pence said he’s asking members of Congress to 'avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment'
- If Trump is impeached by the House, two-thirds of the Senate would be needed to convict him
Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday he wouldn’t invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, writing in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that it’s time for the nation to heal after last week’s attack on the Capitol.
Pence’s letter comes in response to a resolution House Democrats will put to a vote Tuesday night urging him to use his constitutional authority to end Trump’s term early. Pence said he’s asking members of Congress to “avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment."
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The vice president said the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment was designed to address presidential “incapacity or disability" and accused the House of Representatives of playing “political games." Democrats plan to vote on the non-binding 25th Amendment resolution anyway.
Democrats have also set up a vote as soon as Wednesday to impeach the president for the second time.
“We will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat," Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues over the weekend. “The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this president is intensified and so is the immediate need for action."
Democrats had hoped that Pence - who drew Trump’s ire for rebuffing his calls to reject the results of the presidential election, saying such a move was unconstitutional - would call on the cabinet to remove Trump from power. The president has been widely rebuked for his role stirring the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which left five people dead and dozens more injured.
Trump and Pence met Monday night at the White House -- their first conversation since the intrusion by the president’s supporters forced the vice president to hastily evacuate from the Senate floor.
A senior administration official said after the meeting that they had agreed to continue working on behalf of the country for the remainder of their term, indicating that Pence didn’t intend to invoke the 25th Amendment. Earlier Tuesday Trump said he was at “zero risk" of removal under the constitutional provision.
Pence would have needed support from half of the cabinet had he decided to proceed.
Trump on Tuesday also said he should not be held responsible for the attack on the Capitol. He added that his remarks to supporters that day were “totally appropriate," and he blamed Democrats’ impeachment effort for causing “tremendous anger" around the nation.
Congressional Republicans are divided on how to respond to Trump after last week’s attack. Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said earlier Tuesday she would join with Democrats and vote to impeach the president.
“On Jan. 6, 2021, a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes," the Wyoming lawmaker said in a statement. “The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing."
If Trump is impeached by the House, two-thirds of the Senate would be needed to convict him. Trump escaped removal from office last year when only one Republican senator - Mitt Romney of Utah - voted with Democrats.
Even though the Senate probably won’t be able to conclude the trial before Trump leaves office on Jan. 20, Democrats plan to push forward with Trump’s second impeachment because the process could include a vote to prohibit him from again seeking federal office.