House Majority Whip James Clyburn has come out harshly against members of President Donald Trump's cabinet who are resigning instead of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office following the domestic terror attack by a pro-Trump mob against Congress on Wednesday.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao became two of the most senior Trump administration officials to resign in light of his actions, and many other officials have resigned since Wednesday.
But Clyburn bashed DeVos, Chao and others for not staying in office and stopping Trump from within the White House.
“For two cabinet members to resign, that says to me they are running away from their responsibility. If they feel that strongly, they would stay there and wait on this meeting so they can cast two of the votes that are necessary to invoke the 25th Amendment,” Clyburn told Politico.
“They are running away,” he continued.
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 8, 2021
“No, I do not believe 13 or 14 days are enough to run that. But it's sure enough for the vice president and the Cabinet members,” Clyburn said, referencing the potential for impeachment hearings launched by Congress.
Trump's staff members were aghast to find him happily watching the horrifying scenes from the Oval Office, allegedly enjoying the images of his supporters disrupting efforts to certify the 2020 presidential election results.
Since global outrage has grown even more fervent in recent days, members of his own administration have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows a president's cabinet to remove them if the person is deemed unfit to hold office.
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment reads that the vice president and a majority of the cabinet can declare a president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" and remove the person by force.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo led discussions in the cabinet about whether to use the rule to remove Trump from office in fear that he may do something worse than what he did on Wednesday, according to CNBC.
They eventually decided against invoking the 25th because it would take a week to work through the process and President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated in two weeks. There were also concerns that many of the members of Trump's cabinet are "acting" or have not been confirmed by Congress because of past resignations, making it legally unclear whether they have the right to participate in the vote to remove Trump.
CNBC also reported that there was fear that removing Trump would further stoke outright violence from his right-wing supporters.
But that has not stopped calls from Congress for Trump to be removed as a penalty for his role in the terror attack on elected members of House and Senate, who were forced to hide in their offices with gas masks as armed Trump supporters violently roamed the halls of the U.S. Capitol for hours.
Video shows multiple rioters with zip ties and Rolling Stone reported that some of the terrorists were hoping to take members of Congress hostage.
Clyburn told Politico that he would prefer if the Cabinet went through with the process because it was faster than a Congress-led impeachment process.
“It’s the quickest way to do it, and it’s there. It is the proper way to do it. But this president always liked being distinctive, for whatever reason. And he can be by being the first president in this country to be impeached twice," he said. "So if they don’t do it, I do believe that the votes are in the House of Representatives to put forth articles of impeachment.”
In a statement on Friday, Pelosi said that while Congress reviews its options to remove Trump, she has already spoken to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley about removing Trump's ability to access the nuclear codes or launch any military attacks.
"This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi said in a letter that alarmed many online, considering the implications.
Tucked into new Pelosi letter: “This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.” pic.twitter.com/CFJwabQ0Zk
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) January 8, 2021
"The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy," Pelosi added.