The horrific turn of events in the United States with President Donald Trump’s supporters laying siege to the Capitol on Wednesday has brought ‘Remove Trump’ calls by a section of lawmakers to the fore before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20.
What led to the chaos was an address by Trump to protesters where he repeated claims that votes were stolen from him during the Presidential elections.
At least three US news channels reported that Members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet on Wednesday discussed the possibility of removing the President from office after the Capitol mayhem.
Through war and strife, America has endured much. And we will endure here and prevail now. pic.twitter.com/OvNOV0ogWG
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 6, 2021
The deliberations essentially centered on the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, whereby a President’s removal by the Vice President and Cabinet is allowed if he is judged as being “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Vice President Michael Pence’s intervention to lead the Cabinet in a vote will be required to be able to get this rolling.
For the 25th Amendment to be invoked, Vice President Pence and majority of Trump’s Cabinet would need to officially declare that President Trump is unable to perform his duties and remove him.
The words of a President matter. https://t.co/qkDSrit9LL
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 6, 2021
Pence would take over, in that scenario, till Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
However, in case Trump disputes the decision, and Pence and the Cabinet do not contest his claim, then Trump regains Presidency. However, if they dispute Trump’s claim, the issue will then be decided by the Congress but Pence would continue to act as President until then.
The 25th Amendment
Ratified in 1967 and adopted following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the 25th Amendment deals with presidential succession and disability.
Section 4 of the amendment revolves around situations where a President is unable to do the job but refuses to step down voluntarily.
While some experts say that this was prepared to apply in situations when a President is incapacitated by a physical or mental illness, others argue that it could also apply more broadly to a President who is dangerously unfit for office.
Meanwhile, news agency AFP reported that Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee have sent a letter to Vice President Pence urging him to act to remove Trump, reasoning that he had stoked an act of insurrection and “sought to undermine our democracy.”