By Alex Mitchell and Robert Pozarycki
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of Brooklyn said Thursday he supports the immediate removal of Donald Trump from the presidency following Wednesday’s attack upon the U.S. Capitol by a mob of the outgoing president’s supporters.
Within moments of his call, two Bronx Congress Members said they were on board with the proposal: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ritchie Torres.
In a press statement, Schumer called upon Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment — which provides that the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members can declare the president unfit to discharge his duties, and remove him from his official duties.
If Pence and the Cabinet members choose not to, the New York senator said, Congress should reconvene immediately to swiftly impeach and removed Trump from office.
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Schumer said in his statement. “This president should not hold office one day longer.”
What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by President Trump.
This president must not hold office one day longer.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 7, 2021
Schumer said that Pence and the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment would be the swiftest way to get Trump out of the White House, “it can be done today,” he noted.
Both the House and Senate broke for recess until Jan. 19 after the chambers completed the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory early Thursday morning. Schumer said they should immediately reconvene and begin impeachment proceedings if Pence and the Cabinet fail to act.
Torres and AOC said on Twitter they are ready to help.
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) January 7, 2021
If the 25th amendment is not invoked today, Congress must reconvene immediately for impeachment and removal proceedings.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 7, 2021
Newly elected Bronx and Westchester congressman Jamaal Bowman also spoke out on the Capitol chaos from Wednesday afternoon.
“What we saw [yesterday] was an attempted coup, fueled by white supremacy and a fascist in the White House— the logical extension of our failure to reconcile our history. This IS America,” he said, agreeing that Trump’s rhetoric fueled the mob’s rage that led to what amounted to an unsuccessful coup attempt.
Longtime Bronx and Manhattan congressman Adriano Espaillat also scolded the president at about 4:32 p.m. Wednesday for his borderline encouragement of the rioting.
“You continue to lie. Shame on you sending mixed messages, the world is watching. You lost the elections. We will continue to defend our democracy against you and anyone who threatens it,” he wrote in a quote tweet of Trump, one which Twitter deleted in the process of barring the president’s account.
No president has ever been impeached twice; Trump was impeached in the fall of 2019 for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, but was acquitted at trial the following February — with 52 of the 53 Republican senators finding him not guilty (Utah Senator Mitt Romney was the lone exception).
Trump had addressed a throng of thousands of his supporters who converged upon Washington on Jan. 6, hours before a joint session of Congress convened to certify the electoral vote tally in the 2020 presidential election — which Trump lost to Biden.
After hearing speeches from Trump acolytes such as Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani, Trump took to the stage and called upon the crowd to march on Capitol Hill. Shortly after the certification process began, at about 2 p.m., the mob began breaching the barriers around the Capitol, eventually invading the heart of democracy.
The incident, which left four people dead, inflicted damage upon the Capitol both seen and unseen. House and Senate members had to halt their proceedings and take cover, being kept in lockdown for hours as the mob had their run over the building.
Trump released a half-hearted video statement as the violence unfolded, calling on the thugs to go home, but also saying that he loved them and thought they were very special.
Eventually, law enforcement agents and National Guard troops were called into action and cleared the building, allowing Congress to resume their Constitutional duties and certify Biden’s win.
In the hours after the insurrection, even long-time Trump supporters in Congress condemned the episode. Reports also began circulating that Cabinet members were having discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment.
Trump finally conceded defeat early Thursday morning. His term in office expires at noon on Jan. 20, when Biden officially becomes president.
Schumer currently serves as the Senate minority leader, but will become the chamber’s majority leader at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 20 with the swearing in of Vice President Kamala Harris following the Democrats’ victory Tuesday night in Georgia’s Senate runoffs. That will make the chamber evenly split between Republicans and Democrats/independents, and Harris — as the incoming president of the Senate and tie-breaking vote — would put Democrats/independents in the majority.