NASHVILLE — Congressional Democrats, including at least three representatives from Tennessee and Georgia, are urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office following his incitement of a mob of supporters on Wednesday to storm the U.S. Capitol as Congress was ratifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and presumptive U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, also issued statements Thursday calling on Pence and Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment, with Pelosi charging "the president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America."
Schumer said "this president should not hold office one day longer." If Pence and cabinet members don't act, he and Pelosi warned, Democrats who control the House and are expected to have a Senate majority could reconvene to impeach Trump.
Meanwhile, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have signed onto a letter to Pence which says, "For the sake of our democracy, we emphatically urge you to invoke the 25th Amendment and begin the process of removing President Trump from power. President Trump has shown time and again that he is unwilling to protect our Democracy and carry out the duties of the office."
Names of Judiciary Committee Democrats on the letter include U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Lucy McBath of Georgia.
McBath said in a statement posted to Twitter that Pence should act, writing, "The eyes of the world are upon us, and the President's incitement of violence, his inducement of chaos, and his inability to faithfully 'discharge the powers and duties of his office' make it clear. The President has refused to protect our democracy and must be removed."
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a Nashville Democrat whose staff reported having to barricade themselves in their office Wednesday as Trump supporters, some of them armed, flowed through the Capitol, that "the fastest way to remove the dangerous president would be for @VP to #InvokeThe25th. If he won't do it, we must immediately take up articles of impeachment."
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, also called for invoking the 25th Amendment, saying Trump's actions show he has become "unmoored" from reality.
"Yesterday, it became evident that not only has the president abdicated his duty to protect the people and the people's house, he invoked and inflamed passions that only gave fuel to the insurrection that we saw here," Kinzinger said in a video posted on Twitter. "When pressed to move and denounce the violence, he barely did so while of course victimizing himself and seeming to give a wink and a nod to those doing it."
The actions came after the president on Wednesday continued to refuse to accept Biden's victory and energized a mob of supporters, some of them armed, to march to the U.S. Capitol as the House and Senate were acting on certification of Biden's electoral vote victory. The incursions into the chambers halted proceedings for hours as U.S. Capitol police and eventually other law enforcement agencies sought to restore order.
Efforts by a number of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama Republicans to reject certification of results in six states, including Georgia, failed.
Trump on Thursday pledged an "orderly" transition.
Spokespersons for Republican U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty did not respond to Times Free Press requests for comment on the call for Pence and cabinet secretaries to invoke the 25th amendment. Nor did U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, an Ooltewah Republican, who revealed earlier he had been exposed to COVID-19.
A spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett of Knoxville said in response to questions that "our answer is that Congress does not invoke the 25th Amendment."
On another front, the head of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee on Thursday called for the resignations of state Republican lawmakers who were at the Capitol on Wednesday. Among those singled out was Tennessee Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster.
"Any Republican legislator who took part in yesterday's insurrection in Washington, D.C., or anywhere else in the country, should resign immediately," Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post said in a statement. "Yesterday was a stain on our country's history and a dangerous affront to democracy — all those involved have no place making laws."
On Wednesday, Weaver in a tweet stated it was an "Epic and historic day gathering with fellow Patriots from all over the nation DC. #wearearepublic."
She later told The Tennessean, "There wasn't any violence going on here" and sought to raise the debunked theory that apparent Trump supporters who violently broke into the Capitol were actually members of far-left-leaning militant groups.
Contact Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.
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