By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
New York Members of Congress joined Mayor Bill de Blasio on the steps of City Hall Saturday morning to demand the immediate removal of President Donald Trump after he encouraged a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol earlier this week, calling the event “an act of sedition.”
The group of federal lawmakers — which included newly-elected Bronx and Westchester Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Representative Nydia Velazquez, Carolyn Maloney, Hakeem Jeffries, Adriano Espaillat, Gregory Meeks, and Tom Suozzi — urged the president to resign. But if Trump refuses to leave on his own terms, Congressmembers said they were ready to remove him “by any constitutional means necessary.”
The options on the table are a second impeachment, or seeking to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would strip the president of his powers and allow Vice President Mike Pence to take his place for the remainder of Trump’s term, which expires on Jan. 20.
Although President Trump only has 11 more days in office before Joe Biden is sworn in as president, lawmakers worry that Trump will use his remaining time in office to attempt to undermine democracy again, or otherwise cause further harm to the republic.
“Donald Trump may be in the Twitter penalty box but he still has access to the nuclear codes and that’s a danger to the American people,” said Jeffries. The comment refers to Twitter’s decision to ban Trump after the attack on the Capitol out of fear he would use the platform to incite violence.
“We can not proceed as if this is ordinary because this is extraordinary. Sedition is extraordinary, insurrection is extraordinary, domestic terrorism is extraordinary,” Jeffries added.
Chaos overtook the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6 after thousands of pro-Trump rioters flooded into the building, breaking through barricades and Capitol Police, in an attempt to overturn the results of November’s presidential election.
Congress traditionally gathers on Jan. 6 during a presidential election year to count electoral college votes in a short and mostly ceremonial event. But given the large number of Republican representatives planning to object to their state’s election results in an attempt to extend Trump’s presidency, the event took on a new level of importance.
The mad rush happened shortly after President Trump spoke to a crowd of his supporters on the National Mall telling them ” we will never take back our country with weakness,” according to The New York Times. The attack disrupted the vote count and resulted in the death of five people, including a Trump supporter who was shot in the neck by Capitol Police. Eventually, lawmakers reconvened to continue the count on Wednesday night to finish the count.
On Saturday, Congressmembers at City Hall, as well as the mayor, also joined a chorus of lawmakers admonishing Missouri Senator John Hawley — who was the first senator to pledge to object to Biden’s win citing election fraud — for his role in instigating the attack on the Capitol.
Congressmembers also chastised other Trump loyalists, such as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, for supporting of a president with a clear intent to undermine democracy.
Although there are a number of Republican lawmakers calling for Trump’s removal, a number of Trump’s cabinet members like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao have chosen to resign after the president’s abetment of the Capitol attack.
Members of the New York Congressional delegation on Saturday more Trump officials and Republicans to come out publicly in demand for his resignation or to enact the 25th Amendment amid a flurry of resignations.
“Instead of trying to save face… members of his Cabinet ought to be invoking the 25th Amendment,” said Velazquez. “For once, do right by the American people… we have been warning America, we have been warning Republican leadership. Where were they for the last four years?”