House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today said President Trump had incited ‘sedition’ against the United States – and demanded the president’s removal from office.
‘Yesterday the President of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America,’ Pelosi said at a Capitol press conference a day after Trump supporters stormed the building after attending a rally where Trump spoke.
She used stark language beyond even the tough talk of impeachment in last December and January, accusing him of crimes against the nation he leads.
‘In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people,’ said Pelosi.
She applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence – who presided over at joint session to count the electoral votes to make Joe Biden president in a race Trump falsely claims he won – and urged him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
‘The gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American democracy, and the violence targeting Congress, are horrors that will forever stain our nation’s history – instigated by the president of the United States. That’s why it’s such a stain,’ she intoned.
‘By inciting sedition like he did yesterday, he must be removed from office,’ she said of Trump. ‘While it’s only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America,’ she said of Trump’s remaining time in office.
‘I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment. If the vice president and cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,’ she said.
She said it was an idea backed by her caucus.
Pelosi tweeted shortly after her event: ‘Trump is deadly to our democracy and our people. He needs to go now.’
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is calling for the president’s cabinet to make use of the 25th Amendment to declare Trump unfit for office and put Pence in charge.
The New York senator will become majority leader once Joe Biden is sworn in.
He spoke out amid escalating concern among Trump cabinet officials, former top aides, and his recently departed attorney general Bill Barr about the president’s conduct and continued risks the president could pose to the country.
But there was no indication of how Republicans will act – and early in the afternoon, Elaine Chao, the Transportation Secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell quit, a move which stops her taking part in removing Trump from office.
‘The quickest and most effective way – it can be done today – to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment,’ Schumer said.
‘If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,’ Schumer added.
His statement came shortly after Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first elected House Republican to call for the Trump cabinet and Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip away Trump’s power.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called the actions by Trump supporters who rampaged through the Capitol ‘tragic and sickening.’
‘While I have consistently condemned political violence on both sides of the aisle, specifically violence directed at law enforcement, we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends. This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday,’ Wolf said.
‘DHS takes the safety and security of all Americans very seriously—it’s at the core of our mission to defend our homeland. Any appearance of inciting violence by an elected official goes against who we are as Americans,’ Wolf continued.
He said he would remain in his post ‘to ensure the Department’s focus remains on the serious threats facing our country and an orderly transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team.’