House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened Thursday to impeach President Donald Trump a second time unless his cabinet invokes the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
“If he wants to be unique and be doubly impeached that’s kind of up to him and his cabinet,” said Pelosi.
Pelosi called Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol an “armed insurrection” and “an assault on our nation” directly incited by Trump. The president only has 13 days left in office but Pelosi said that as long as Trump remains in power “any day can be a horror show for America.”
Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president can, if backed by a majority of cabinet, declare the president unfit for office and set in motion his removal from office.
Pelosi said that if Pence and the cabinet refuse to act, there is broad support in the Democratic caucus for restarting impeachment proceedings against the president. “My members are very much interested. My phone is exploding with ‘Impeach, impeach, impeach,’” said Pelosi.
Pence has so far not commented on using the 25th Amendment. Pelosi did not set out a deadline for him to respond.
Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate who will take over as majority leader in two weeks, also released a statement Thursday calling for Trump to be swiftly removed from office, one way or another.
“It can be done today,” he said. Schumer called on Pence and the cabinet to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment. If they refuse, Schumer said that Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.
Trump has refused to accept that he lost the presidential election and has consistently repeats the lie that he won in a landslide. Shortly before Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol, he told a crowd of supporters, “Our country will be destroyed” if Joe Biden takes office.
“You’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” he said.
Moments after he stopped speaking, those supporters marched over to the Capitol and stormed the barricades.
A group of 13 House Democrats led by Rep. Ilhan Omar has already introduced articles to impeach President Trump, charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors. Many other Democrats tweeted their support for impeachment.
While Democrats could theoretically impeach the president in the House before he leaves office, there is essentially zero chance that the Senate — which remains under Republican control until January 20 — would hold a trial and convict Trump, thus removing him from office.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first Republican to call for Trump to be impeached Thursday, saying in an interview with MSNBC that Trump is “unmoored from reality.”
Other Republicans mostly haven’t commented on the impeachment push. “I’m acting alone,” said Kinzinger. “I wouldn’t be surprised if others do join me. I think there is a feeling that something needs to be done.”