Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday called for President Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office, either by his Cabinet or through impeachment, describing the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday as “an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.”
A removal would temporarily elevate Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, to president, until Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Schumer said in a statement. “This president should not hold office one day longer.”
Schumer said the “quickest and most effective way” to remove Trump would be under the 25th Amendment.
Under that process, the president can be removed from office by the vice president plus a majority of the Cabinet, or by the vice president and a body established by Congress, if they determine he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
“If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” Schumer said.
The Democratic-led House impeached Trump last year related to political overtures to Ukraine, but he was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked against Trump, becoming the highest-profile Republican to press for the president to be relieved of his official duties.
“Sadly, yesterday, it became evident that not only has the president abdicated his duty to protect the American 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 he posted on Twitter on Thursday morning.
“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 Illinois Republican added, referring to the Twitter video in which Trump on Wednesday called on the rioters to “go home” but told them: “We love you. You’re very special.”
“All indications are that the president has become unmoored – not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself,” Kinzinger said. “It is for this reason that I call for the vice president and members of the Cabinet to ensure that the next few weeks are safe for the American people, and that we have a sane captain of the ship.”
Kinzinger said that it is time to invoke the 25th Amendment “to end this nightmare.”
Earlier Thursday, Trump pledged an “orderly transition” in a statement issued shortly after Vice President Mike Pence announced Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election at the end of a joint session of Congress that was disrupted for hours by violent Trump supporters.
Trump’s statement stopped short of conceding to Biden, who plans to address the nation Thursday and introduce his nominees for several top Justice Department posts.