INDIANAPOLIS — After the violent events at the Capitol on Wednesday, some legislators from both sides of the aisle are calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. It would remove President Donald Trump from power and put Pence in charge.
“The President may only have 13 days [left in office], but he has shown that each one of those days is a threat to democracy,” remarks Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, “The quickest and most effective way to remove this president from office would be for the vice president to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment.”
“It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment, and end this nightmare,” pushes Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois.
The Vice President would need the support of half of the president’s cabinet to move forward. The group would then send a statement to the House and Senate saying the president is incapable of performing his duties. This amendment is typically held for when a president is incapacitated, like when the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan left him hospitalized.
“However the president can then send a statement to the House and Senate saying he is capable, and he immediately becomes president again,” explained Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, “The vice president and members of the cabinet have four days in which to contest that.”
Lenkowsky continues to say the House and Senate would then have 48 hours to take action on the vice president’s rebuttal.
“The bottom line seems to me, if President Trump were to contest any attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment, he could do so, and probably play out the clock,” says Lenkowsky referencing the president’s 13 days left in office.
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with Schumer, have made it clear that they will push for impeachment if Pence does not pursue the 25th Amendment.
“That could conceivably occur very quickly if everyone was agreed on doing so,” added Lenkowsky, talking about impeachment. “There are all sorts of procedural rules to be invoked to slow the process down. A majority of the representatives in the House of Representatives voted to support objecting to the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania last night, and that’s a large number.”
If the president were to be impeached and removed within the next 13 days, Lenkowsky believes he would still be within his rights to run for president again in 2024.
“I don’t think a simple statute could amend those. I think you’d need a constitutional amendment [saying], ‘If you have ever been impeached, that’s it buddy,’ you are no longer eligible to run for president.”