Officials of Trump Cabinet Discussing Invoking 25th Amendment Following Violence at Capitol
Hours after an extraordinary rally by Trump challenging his defeat, flag-waving backers broke down barricades outside the Capitol and swarmed inside, with the special session going into an emergency recess as protesters entered the chambers.
The desperate last-minute bid by Trump to overturn his election loss sparked chaos and accusations of a “coup” attempt, with several countries calling on Trump’s supporters to show calm and restraint.
Discussions are ongoing among some members of the Trump Cabinet and allies of President Donald Trump about the 25th Amendment, which would be a vehicle for members of the cabinet to remove Trump from office, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the discussions have said.
Officials have exchanged calls and messages about the extraordinary measure, which would require a majority of Cabinet officials plus Vice President Pence to declare to Congress that Trump is unable to fulfil his duties as president.
It is unclear how extensive these conversations have been or if Vice President Mike Pence is supportive of such action. Many have been horrified by Wednesday’s events and Trump’s encouragement and lack of engagement to call in resources to stop the protesters, the sources said.
Trump has only 14 days left in office, but some lawmakers want his presidency over sooner, calling for his impeachment in the wake of Wednesday’s violence on Capitol Hill that left at least four people dead.
A White House official said Pence had not been approached or involved in any pursuit of the 25th Amendment.
Still, the fact that it is being discussed reflects how rapidly Trump’s standing has deteriorated over the course of the day Wednesday, which saw him urge supporters to march on the Capitol before they forced their way into the building after overwhelming police.
One former White House official acknowledged the possibility that there are discussions about the 25th Amendment but said they hadn’t gotten the sense that there were any serious talks about it at this point.
Meanwhile, Democrats increased public pressure on Trump administration officials to take the extraordinary step. A group of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Pence Wednesday evening calling on him to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office following the day’s chaotic events. Some Democrats have also called for Trump to be impeached and removed from office.
In a tweet Wednesday evening, Trump falsely claimed: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”
“Go home with love & in peace,” the president wrote. “Remember this day forever!”
That tweet has since been removed.
Earlier in the afternoon, Trump, in a video posted to Twitter, falsely said, “We had an election that was stolen from us,” baselessly calling it a “fraudulent election.”
“I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace,” Trump said, adding: “We love you. You’re very special.”
Twitter responded by saying that it’s blocking Trump’s video from being replied to, retweeted or liked “due to a risk of violence.”
“We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We are actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules.”
YouTube also deleted the video.
“We removed a video posted this afternoon to Donald Trump’s channel that violated our policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election,” Farshad Shadloo, the company’s head of policy communications, said in a statement.
Twitter has locked the president’s account for 12 hours.
“As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” Twitter said at about 7 p.m. ET. “This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.”