Vice President Mike Pence opposes invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, according to multiple media reports, effectively thwarting the chances of the procedure taking place.
The vice president would need to take the lead and have the approval of a majority of Cabinet members in order to remove Trump from power and take over his duties, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers has advocated after Trump incited his supporters to riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, have died in connection with the insurrection.
Business Insider, citing Pence advisers, first reported that the vice president believes the move would cause more chaos. The New York Times reported that Pence’s position is supported by several Cabinet officials.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday said that using the 25th Amendment would be the quickest and most effective way to remove Trump from office. But if that isn’t going to happen, Congress may move forward with impeachment proceedings, the two Democrats said.
“If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” Schumer said.
Pence hasn’t indicated when he will communicate his decision on whether he will invoke the amendment. His office didn’t immediately answer a request for comment.
The 25th Amendment has never been used to remove a president — only to provide for the transfer of power when a president is temporarily incapacitated.
With some members of the Cabinet, like Pence, reportedly opposed to invoking the amendment, and others resigning, it seems unlikely it will be used to oust Trump.
It’s unclear whether the House can impeach Trump before he leaves office in less than two weeks.
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), assistant House speaker, said on CNN Friday that it was possible an impeachment vote could be held as early as “mid-next week” by using procedural tools. Clark didn’t directly answer a question on whether the Senate could hold a trial to remove the president after he is no longer in office.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board, a conservative stalwart, on Thursday called for Trump to resign to avoid a second impeachment, but acknowledged it’s unlikely Trump will act with grace.