Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and fellow House Democrats have been vocal in recent days about their hopes to force President Donald Trump’s removal from office, either by convincing Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment or, failing that, by taking matters into their own hands with another round of impeachment proceedings.
But with just days left in the president’s term, many have been left wondering: What’s the point of all this? According to author and PJ Media columnist Tyler O’Neil, Pelosi recently made her strategy crystal clear.
In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes that aired Sunday, Pelosi was pressed by host Leslie Stahl on the “a possibility that after all of this, there’s no punishment, no consequence, and he could run again for president,” O’Neil reported.
In response, Pelosi quipped, “And that’s one of the motivations that people have for advocating for impeachment.”
“He has to pay a price”
Calls for Trump’s removal have plagued most of his presidency, but Democrats have ramped up the rhetoric in recent days in response to a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday perpetrated by supporters of the president. The attack left at least five dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, according to Reuters.
Pelosi, for her part, has said Trump is responsible for inciting the violence, which transpired following a rally for the president in Washington where he gave what Reuters described as a “fiery speech” earlier Wednesday.
“This president is guilty of inciting [an] insurrection. He has to pay a price for that,” Pelosi told 60 Minutes on Sunday. “I like the 25th Amendment because it gets rid of him, he’s out of office, but there is strong support in the Congress for impeaching the president a second time,” she added. Take a look:
“This President is guilty of inciting an insurrection. He has to pay a price for that,” says Speaker Pelosi. She says she intends to keep the pressure on POTUS to leave office as soon as possible, threatening to initiate impeachment proceedings. https://t.co/QPg5SeXdlB pic.twitter.com/R38kZAT1F3
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 11, 2021
If invoked, the 25th Amendment — specifically, Section 4 of it — would allow Vice President Pence and a majority of Trump’s Cabinet to remove the president with a “written declaration” to Congress “that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” At that point, the “Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President,” the text of the amendment reads.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated, however, that the upper chamber can’t take up the matter until Jan. 19, just a day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. As it stands, the House isn’t even expected to vote to impeach until a week before Inauguration Day at the earliest, NPR notes.
It all begs the question: Is this more political theater than a concerted attempt to impeach and remove? With Pelosi at the helm, we may never know for certain.