Updated Jan. 8
Most of California’s Democratic Congressional Delegation is calling for President Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office after thousands of his supporters swarmed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, interrupting a joint session and forcing members of Congress and their staff into lockdown.
“The President of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The San Francisco Democrat urged Vice President Mike Pence and members of Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare the president unfit to hold the office.
“If the Vice President and cabinet do not act, the congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. That is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus,” Pelosi said.
The 25th Amendment lays out a framework for succeeding a president or declaring him unfit for office, but it has never been used to remove a sitting commander-in-chief.
A group including California Reps. Ted Lieu, Eric Swalwell, Jimmy Gomez and Mark DeSaulnier say they are working on a House resolution to introduce articles of impeachment against the president. Both chambers have recessed until after the inauguration on Jan. 20, but some Democrats are pushing to reconvene in order to vote on articles of impeachment.
The calls for Trump’s removal come after Congress affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory early Thursday morning, ensuring Biden will be inaugurated.
Seven California Republicans Object To Certifying Biden's Election
More than 100 Republicans, including seven from California, objected to certifying the electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. Supporters of the president allege election fraud and irregularities in the two swing states, despite a lack of evidence and legal challenges that went nowhere.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemned the violence at the nation’s Capitol as “unacceptable” and “criminal behavior.”
Hours after the rioters had been removed, McCarthy — along with fellow California Reps. Doug LaMalfa, Jay Obernolte, Devin Nunes, Mike Garcia and Ken Calvert — voted to overturn election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Rep. Tom McClintock bucked members of his party and voted to certify the results.
Rep. Michelle Steel did not vote after she said she tested positive for COVID-19. Representative-elect David Valadao is home with a coronavirus diagnosis and has not yet been sworn in. But in a tweet, Valadao said he would have opposed the effort to overturn electoral results.
“Simply put, Congress does not have the power to pick the president — the American people do, through the Electoral College,” he wrote.
Rep. Young Kim of Orange County missed the first vote on Arizona’s election results because she said she was getting tested for COVID-19. After her test came back negative, she broke from most members of the GOP caucus and voted to certify the electoral votes from Pennsylvania.
More Than Three Dozen California Democrats Call For Trump's Removal
As of Friday morning, at least 38 California Democrats have so far called for the president’s removal, including Senator-designate Alex Padilla, who is poised to take over the senate seat of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In an interview with CapRadio’s Insight, Northern California House members Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) and John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove) called for Trump’s removal. Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) initially stopped short of saying Trump should be removed from office with fewer than two weeks left in his term, but called for broader discussions “for how we got here in the first place and how we get ourselves out.”
“We’ve got 13 days left. We’ll see how much we have time for, but I think there should absolutely be accountability for anyone who engages or has incited violence,” Harder said.
But by Friday morning, Harder changed his mind and said Trump “should be removed from office by any legal means.”
While Bera and Garamendi say they are skeptical an impeachment would go through in fewer than two weeks, they called on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Garamendi added Congress should “put into the record the impeachable offenses the president has committed in just the last 10 days,” including inciting violence and pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State to change that state’s election results.
Republicans have largely remained silent on the issue, though in a statement Thursday evening, Rep. Tom McClintock said he opposed using the 25th Amendment to remove the president.
“Haven’t we done enough to divide the country and abuse the Constitution?” McClintock tweeted. “The 25th amendment addresses physical incapacitation, not bad conduct.”
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.