After Trump Mobs Attack Capitol, Trump Removal Options Sent to Pence as Cabinet Discusses 25th Amendment

Trump loyalists protest outside the front of the US Capitol building Photo Source: Trump loyalists protest outside the front of the US Capitol building (Leah Millis/Reuters)

In a strong response to the domestic terrorists who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, a steadily growing list of Republican and Democratic members of Congress shared a slew of recommendations to remove President Donald J. Trump from office yesterday. A public roar is being heard from both parties in the Senate and House, former presidents, and even the most powerful worker’s group in the US that Trump seems unfit to lead and is culpable for the deadly mob that attacked, broke into, and vandalized the Capitol.

Calls for both impeachment or the activation of the 25th Amendment, where Pence would serve the remaining two weeks of the president’s term, are under discussion in newspapers, on television news segments, and across all social media platforms.

Trump’s constant refrain that the election was “rigged” and “stolen” from him became a dangerous mantra for the angry crowds at his rally immediately before the seditious march along Pennsylvania Avenue of MAGA hat-wearing, Confederate flag-waving, majority white and majority males quickly breached the Capitol as Congress was voting to endorse the states’ electoral votes for president of the United States.

During the loud, huge Trump rally leading up to the DC melee, the president incited an unhinged, armed crowd to march upon Congress and disrupt our democracy, in acts considered sedition and not a simple protest. The tape of Trump encouraging his followers offers his clear, almost hypnotic suggestions for the mob to rush over to the Capitol and “take back” the country.

Moments before the protesters left the Trump rally, Trump said, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness …you’ll have to be strong.”

Like a chemical reaction, the MAGA rally burst into action and moved as a dangerous whole, quickly marching to Capitol Hill armed with guns, bombs, and bats, all fueled by the president of the United States.

Once they arrived at their target, the angry mob broke into the Capitol building, smashing windows, vandalizing offices, and taking photos in the sacred halls of the US government.

In the mayhem, Congress and staff were forced to hide, don gas masks, and flee. Many older Senators and Representatives needed assistance to escape, and President Trump, like a pasha watching this destruction by his minions, said nothing, remaining silent from the White House, only blocks away.

As Vice President Mike Pence was being evacuated and mobs were hurling themselves through windows to gain access into the Capitol building, Trump was tweeting his criticisms of his second-in-command in real-time.

In one particularly dangerous tweet, as Pence was now a target and literally being evacuated to safety, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

Soon after, Pence unfollowed Trump on his Twitter account, and a long line of elected officials wielded the strength of their social media and access to national television to ask Pence to kick Trump out of office by activating the 25th Amendment.

Requests to Pence to trigger the 25th Amendment or impeach Trump were sent publicly, often directly to Pence first.

The 25th Amendment describes how a US president can be removed from office by the Vice President and Cabinet members if he is deemed unable to carry out the duties of such office.

Others openly discussed impeaching Trump.

The US Constitution gives Congress the authority to “impeach and remove 'The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States” if a determination is made that such officers engaged in “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Like a swell of waves hitting the shore, members of Congress and other officials demanded Trump be removed from office since he was not doing his duties and also seemed mentally unfit.

This brief timeline shows a common thread among many members of Congress. Some of the strongest tweets include the following, which were posted right after members of Congress were able to leave the safe spaces where they sheltered during the attacks.

3:26 PM Rep David Cicilline wrote, “This is outrageous and the president caused it. We should impeach and convict him now.”

4:30 PM

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif) sent a Tweet out saying “Dear@VPMike_Pence: You need to start the 25th amendment. @realDonalTrump is detached from reality.

4:34 PM

Rep Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass) agreed, tweeting, “Donald J. Trump should immediately be impeached by the House of Representative and removed by the United States Senate as soon as Congress reconvenes. This is dangerous and unacceptable.”

4:38 PM Rep Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) on twitter “I am drawing up Articles of Impeachment. Donald J Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate. We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath.”

5:00 PM Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) said, “The President has been encouraging these domestic terrorists since before the election. He could have stopped them at any moment, but instead he whipped them into a frenzy and sicced them on the Capitol. The Cabinet must remove him today or the House must impeach.”

6:30 PM Former Republican Senator and Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen said Trump’s cabinet should invoke the 25th amendment in order to remove him from office.

President George W. Bush agreed, saying Capitol Hill riots were “sickening and heartbreaking.”

Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska on Twitter said, “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President's addiction to constantly stoking division.”

On CNN at 7:45 PM, Attorney General of Georgia Karl Racine called upon Pence to remove the president and invoke the 25th amendment.

7:55 PM “Do your constitutional duty,” said Racine. “Protect America, stand up for democracy, and vote the 25th amendment.”

8:00 - 10 PM During Congress Meeting

Visibly shaking and speaking to the nation and his colleagues in Congress, Senator Corey Booker connected the historical connotations of the shocking, violent storming of the Capitol and Trump's mute response with the violence of an early American war and the civil rights movement.

“I can only think of two times in American history that individuals laid siege to our Capitol, stormed our sacred civic spaces and tried to upend and overrun this government. One was in the war of 1812, and the other one was today. What’s interesting about the parallel between the two is they both were waving flags to a sole sovereign, to an individual, surrendering democratic principles to the cult of personality. One was a monarch in England and the other were the flags I saw all over our capital including in the hallways and in this room to a single person named Donald Trump.”

“[Trump] is fanning the flames to create of conspiracy theory to create a smokescreen in this nation to cover what he is doing trying to do which is undermine our Democratic principles.”

Mitt Romney also minced no words, condemning Trump and warning about the consequences of supporting the president.

Speaking to Congress after being heckled by passengers on his flight to D.C. from Utah and taunted by Trump who mused to a crowd of supporters whether the long-time Republican leader had “enjoyed his flight," Romney said, “We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.”

With the whole world watching, both allies and enemies waited breathlessly to see if our democracy was resilient and strong.

By 8 PM, the National Guard had secured the Capitol. Congress reconvened and did what they were elected to do: certify the states' electoral votes and officially announce Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.

Cabinet members, once loyal followers of Trump, are now speaking with numerous news agencies under anonymity about their internal discussion to trigger the 25th Amendment and put Pence in as a two-week president.

As the world saw clearly during the attempted overthrow of the US Democracy, two weeks will be a very long time if the anger of outgoing President Trump continues to fan the masses toward the destruction of our government.

Diane Lilli
Diane Lilli
Diane Lilli is an award-winning Journalist, Editor, and Author with over 18 years of experience contributing to New Jersey news outlets, both in print and online. Notably, she played a pivotal role in launching the first daily digital newspaper, Jersey Tomato Press, in 2005. Her work has been featured in various newspapers, journals, magazines, and literary publications across the nation. Diane is the proud recipient of the Shirley Chisholm Journalism Award.
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