Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi called for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office on Thursday—and threatened impeachment if Pence won’t act.
“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, the Democratic Senate minority leader, said in a statement released late Thursday morning.
“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 continued. “If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”
House Speaker Pelosi concurred hours later.
"By inciting sedition as he did yesterday he must be removed from office. While there's only 13 days left any day could be a horror show for America,” Pelosi said during an afternoon press conference.
Their call comes after Trump incited a violent mob to storm the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday. The pro-Trump rioters stormed Congress, temporarily halting their certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Both the House and Senate were under siege for hours, as rioters smashed up the building and threatened lawmakers’ safety, before police reinforcements managed to secure the building and protect America’s elected officials.
There have been reports that members of Trump’s cabinet are quietly discussing the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, but it looks like a long shot. Pence would need to invoke the amendment, and a majority of the cabinet officials Trump himself appointed would have to agree.
The impeachment and removal of Trump from office would similarly be a long shot. Two thirds of senators would need to vote to remove Trump from office, and with the Senate in GOP hands until Biden is sworn in and Georgia’s new Democratic senators-elect are sworn in, it’s highly improbable that it would get a vote. It’s also unclear if the slow-moving Senate could finish an impeachment trial before Trump’s term ends even if they wanted to.
Pelosi declined to give a timetable for how long she’d give Pence and Trump’s cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment before moving to impeach.
"We will be prepared to do that, but I don't have any immediate plans,” she said.
"I don't even know how quickly he [Pence] might respond,” she continued. “I don't think that it'll take long to get an answer."
Pelosi and Schumer join a growing number of lawmakers are calling for Trump to immediately be removed from office — a group that is now bipartisan, after Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger called for the 25th Amendment’s use in a Thursday morning statement.
Trump’s term in office ends in 13 days. After Wednesday’s violent insurrectionist chaos, lawmakers are worried what might happen before Jan. 20.
This story was updated at 2:40 p.m. ET to include Pelosi's remarks