US Vice President Mike Pence refuses, according to reports from the newspapers “Business Insider” and “New York Times”, to remove US President Donald Trump on the basis of the 25th amendment to the constitution.
Democrats and some Republicans had asked Pence, after hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Congress building, to relieve the voted president of his powers less than two weeks before leaving office. According to the New York Times, it is not known when Pence will inform Congress of his opposition to this plan. The Vice President is therefore supported by several members of Trump’s cabinet.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution has been in force since 1967 and regulates early succession to a presidency. Accordingly, the vice-president can take over if the incumbent president is no longer able to exercise his office. For example, in the event of resignation, impeachment or death, but also in the event of permanent or only temporary incapacity.
Paragraph 4 has never been applied
The calls for a disempowerment of Trump in this way refer to paragraph 4. It regulates a transfer of official business in the event that a president cannot declare the incapacity for office himself because he is in a coma, for example, or does not want to explain, for example under the influence of a mental illness.
The vice-president and a majority of the cabinet or other body designated by Congress may declare in writing to the heads of Congress that the President can no longer exercise his office. Then the vice president takes over the business. The president can, however, object to his incapacity for office. If the vice and cabinet stay with their determination, the Congress must confirm the incapacity for office within a few weeks with a two-thirds majority in both chambers. Paragraph 4 has never been applied. (You can find more background information on impeachment here.)
Donald Trump’s term officially ends on January 20th. On Thursday night, after temporarily suspending its session because of the riot, Congress formally confirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November presidential election.
Trump supporters had forcibly entered the Capitol. They smashed windows and occupied rooms. Because of the riot, the parliamentarians had to be brought to safety by the police. A woman was shot dead by police in the Capitol during the riot.
Trump had previously incited his supporters at a demonstration in Washington by repeating his completely unsubstantiated claim that there had been massive fraud in the presidential election he lost in November. After storming the Capitol, on Wednesday he appealed to his rampaging supporters to “return home”, but at this point did not expressly condemn the excess of violence.