Vice President Mike Pence informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” he said in a letter to the Democrat.
Pence’s announcement came as House Democrats prepared to vote on a resolution asking the vice president to invoke the amendment, which allows for a process to remove a president unfit to hold office. Invoking the 25th requires the vice president and either a majority of the president’s Cabinet or a review body appointed by Congress to agree to it.
In his letter to Pelosi, Pence preached that this is a time “to come together” and “to heal,” not “further divide and inflame the passions of the moment.”
Despite President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration being just days away, Democrats and some Republicans have pushed for Trump’s removal from office because of the violent riot he incited at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Trump supporters, fueled by the president’s baseless claims that the election was rigged and stolen from him, forced lawmakers, staff and reporters into hiding for hours as the rioters tore through the chambers of Congress with firearms and other weapons. Trump would not immediately condemn their actions, instead defending them and praising them as “very special.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump proclaimed that the 25th Amendment poses “zero risk” to him but “will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration.”
Pence also argued in his letter to Pelosi that “the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation.” Invoking it in this situation, he continued, “would set a terrible precedent.”
But advocates for Trump’s removal say the president, even with just over a week left in office, poses a serious threat to national security. House Democrats have been briefed on three additional plots to overthrow the government, including one to surround the Capitol and assassinate both Democrats and Republicans who didn’t support Trump’s effort to overturn the election.
Another Democrat-led effort to remove Trump from office via impeachment is still underway. Republican support for the plan is growing, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly telling those close to him that he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses last week.