TAMPA (WFLA/AP/NEXSTAR) – Vice President Mike Pence is ruling out invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power, less than a week after the president fomented the violent insurrection at the Capitol.
In the statement, Pence says, “With just eight days left in the President’s term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment. 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 the 25th Amendment “is not a means of punishment or usurpation” and invoking it “in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.”
Pence goes on to accuse the House of Representatives of playing “political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.”
Acknowledging the “tragic events” of the Capitol storming, he said “Now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal.”
Finally, he urges Congress to “avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment,” and asks Congress to “work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”
The 25th Amendment says the vice president and a majority of principal officers of executive departments “or of such other body as Congress” may provide a declaration to Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” At that point, the vice president would assume the powers of acting president.
As the House appears on the cusp of a bipartisan impeachment of Trump, Pence encouraged Congress to avoid actions to “further divide and inflame the passions of the moment” and to focus on smoothing the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Pelosi has said if Pence rejects use of the 25th Amendment, the House will move to impeach him. Already, at least three Republicans have said they would vote for that.
The amendment was proposed after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It outlines the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation or incapacitation.
The amendment was applied during the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. It helped with the process of replacing Spiro Agnew as vice president. It also went into play when Richard Nixon resigned.
This is a developing story stick with WFLA for updates.
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