Should Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office?
- Election Day was Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
- Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the amount of mail-in-ballots skyrocketed. Tensions over mail-in-ballots were high as many believed fraud to come hand-in-hand with absentee voting.
- As of Saturday, November 7, media channels like CNN, PBS, Fox News, and Facebook broadcasted that Biden won the election with 290 electoral votes against Trump’s 214 votes.
- Since Election Day, Trump has refused to concede to Joe Biden, claiming he “will never give up.”
- Wednesday, January 6, Trump supporters rallied at the US Capitol “interrupting challenges to Biden Electoral College victory.”
- Conversations over invoking the 25th amendment have been circling around Congress, both Republican and Democrat members supporting the motion. Rep. Adam Kinzinger was the first of the Republicans to call for Trump’s removal, saying, ”The president not only abdicated his duty to protect the American people and the people’s house, he invoked and inflamed passions that gave fuel to the insurrection we saw [at the Capitol].”
There is no doubt that blame for the Capitol building insurrection lies with President Trump, and he must be held accountable. However, Vice President Pence should not invoke the 25th amendment to remove the president from office. As satisfying as this option may seem to many who have watched Donald Trump debase nearly every aspect of our democracy for four years, we must focus on the peaceful transfer of power and encourage progress. Unfortunately, forcibly removing the president would play into the narrative believed by many of Trump's followers; that the election was rigged or stolen by Democrats.
Polls have shown that 68% of Republicans think the election was rigged, and Trump's 'stop the steal' fundraising efforts have brought in over two hundred million dollars. Trump must not be in office for one second more than is legally required, but removing him via the 25th amendment will only add fuel to his followers' rage in the form of perceived vindication that some deep-state power is working against him. Effort would be better spent ensuring that the Biden Administration is ready to deal with the multiple crises the nation is facing from day one.
Rather than utilizing the 25th amendment, Congress and the Justice Department should consider the many other routes to accountability. Trump must be brought to justice for his actions, and this could come in the form of censure, impeachment, or even criminal prosecution after he leaves office. These would be fitting punishments that would occur in the public eye and be less inflammatory during a dangerous period for our democracy.
Mike Pence would be fulfilling his role as Vice President of the United States by invoking the 25th amendment to remove Donald Trump from office. The longer Trump remains in office, the more damage may be done.
The 25th amendment allows the Vice President to remove the president from office if he is unfit for the job. Trump clearly incited the violence that occurred when he stated, 'you'll never take the country back with weakness, you have to show strength.' Statements like this generate strong feelings from his voters that feel the election was mishandled, which lead to the chaos that occurred on Wednesday. Though banned temporarily (through the end of his term as of now) by Twitter and Facebook, Trump still has access to the public in other capacities, which makes him a threat to continue instigating these attacks on the nation.
Trump is still making false claims about the validity of the election that continue to be disproven, yet continue to feed this misinformation to his supporters who appear to be believing him. Trump claimed that Mike Pence needed to 'do the right thing' and allow Trump to win the election, creating quite the tense situation. Judging off his recent actions, Trump may not be prepared to give up his seat as president when Biden is inaugurated later in the month. He has even implied in Ohio that he would only accept the election results if he were the winner. Invoking the 25th amendment would certainly alleviate the struggle of transferring power peaceably from one president to the next.