House Speaker NancyPelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows him and the Cabinet to wrest the power of the presidency from Trump.
If Pence declines to act, they said Democrats were prepared to impeach Trump for a second time.
“While it’s only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America,” Pelosi said, calling Trump’s actions Wednesday a “seditious act.”
In an extraordinary news conference in the reclaimed Capitol, Pelosi singled out members of the Cabinet by name, asking why they would not intervene.
“Are they ready to say for the next 13 days this dangerous man can assault our democracy?” Pelosi said of the Cabinet.
She said she hoped to have an answer from Pence within the day on whether he would attempt to use the 25th Amendment. The two leaders tried to call Pence directly Thursday but were left on a holding line for 20 minutes without Pence picking up.
It was unclear how quickly Democrats could move to impeach Trump. There is no clear precedent for putting a former official on trial in the Senate, and with only 13 days left in his term, it was not certain Democrats could actually accomplish such a complicated and politically fraught process.
Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, said, “What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer.”
Pelosi was the most prominent voice in a growing chorus of Democrats, and a few Republicans, who surveyed the aftermath of Wednesday’s historic events and concluded Trump was too dangerous to remain in office until Jan. 20, when Biden is set to be sworn in.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., had issued a similar call earlier Thursday. His statement followed similar ones by Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., on Wednesday; and a letter signed by 17 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee was sent to Pence calling to invoke the 25th Amendment.