Washington – As Congress reels from the shocking attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of angry Trump supporters, calls for President Trump to be removed from office — either through impeachment or under the 25th Amendment — are swelling, with top Democrats and some Republicans warning of the dangers of allowing Mr. Trump to complete his term.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday became the highest-ranking Democrat to push for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, and said the nation cannot allow Mr. Trump to remain president any longer.
"What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer," Schumer said in a statement. "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."
If Pence and the Cabinet refuse to use the 25th Amendment to strip Mr. Trump of his office, Schumer called for Congress to reconvene and impeach him.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York and member of House Democratic leadership, tweeted that Mr. Trump "should be impeached, convicted and removed from office immediately."
Earlier Thursday, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first GOP lawmaker to join Democratsunder the 25th Amendment.
"All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself," he said in a two-minute-long video posted to Twitter. "It is for this reason that I call for the vice president and members of the Cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people and that we have a sane captain of the ship."
Two Republican governors, Larry Hogan of Maryland and Phil Scott of Vermont, have also said Mr. Trump should not remain in office.
"There's no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office and if Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States would conduct a peaceful transition of power over the next 13 days until President Biden is sworn in," Hogan said during a press conference Thursday.
Scott, too, said Mr. Trump should be either removed from office or step aside.
"President Trump has orchestrated a campaign to cause an insurrection that overturns the results of a free, fair and legal election," he said in a statement Wednesday.
A growing chorus of at least 90 Democrats have called for the president to be forced out of office following the violent events at the U.S. Capitol perpetrated by a mob of violent Trump supporters hell-bent on disrupting Congress's efforts to count the electoral votes. While their assault forced a nearly six-hour break in the proceedings, lawmakers returned late Wednesday to complete the count and reaffirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Mr. Trump has been lambasted from figures across the political spectrum, including those who served in his administration, for inciting the violence and failing to denounce the actions of his supporters.
Already, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, has drafted articles of impeachment against the president for his "open sedition." Congressman David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, is also circulating his own articles of impeachment, accusing the president of engaging in high crimes and misdemeanors "by willfully inciting violence against the United States."
Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, called for Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and "put country before party."
"The most immediate way to ensure the President is prevented from causing further harm in coming days is to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office," she said in a statement.
Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet can relieve the president of power if they determine he is unfit to discharge the duties of the office.
It's unclear whether congressional Republicans beyond Kinzinger would support the efforts to remove Mr. Trump from office.
CBS News reported some Cabinet officials have discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment after the violence at the Capitol, but those discussions had not resulted in a formal presentation to the vice president as of Wednesday evening.