Insurrectionists at US Capitol were determined to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him. On the other hand, Mike Pence is feeling pressure from all sides to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump.
On 7th January, pro-Trump rioters ransacked the US Capitol building, disrupting the Congress session of certifying electoral college votes, which eventually went through as lawmakers declared Joe Biden as the winner of elections and the next president. Amid the destruction and vandalism, the most worrisome news in the form of a repeated chant by the mob — Hang Mike Pence!
A Reuters photographer who covered the mayhem on Capitol Hill recollected the death threats and hearing at least 3 different rioters saying that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him for being a “traitor” by hanging from a Capitol Hill tree. He further stated that many more in the mob were talking about “how the VP should be executed”. Similarly, some of the insurrectionists were heard shouting ‘where’s Mike Pence’.
Watch: Capitol Insurrectionists chant ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and vow to come back and finish the job
The root of the ire of Trump loyalists against VP Pence was President Donald Trump‘s repeated, rather false, claims wherein he called out Pence multiple times on Twitter and public gatherings, questioning his will to annul the election results and challenging his power to take action. However, minutes before the Congress convened, Mike Pence released a statement acknowledging that he holds no legal or constitutional authority. In his statement, Pence mentioned, “Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress… After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct.”
But despite the attack on the Capitol and clear death threats targeted at his VP, Trump is heedless about Mike Pence’s safety and the reported threat to his life.
Will Pence become the 46th US President with the help of the 25th Amendment?
After the vandalism of the US Capitol building, Democrats and the President’s own cabinet are growing impatient to remove Trump from the office. The chances of that happening, with an impeachment inquiry, depends on either one of two conditions:
- Either Trump himself steps down, or
- If the 25th amendment is brought into action by Pence
Under the first condition, Mike Pence would become the 46th President of the US, making Joe Biden the 47th when he finally takes his oath on 20th of January. Under the second condition, Pence will be the ‘acting president’ and not the official US President. Section 3 and 4 of the 25th Amendment provides provision for the removal of the president if he becomes ‘unable’ or ‘disable’ to act. The amendment was first introduced when President JF Kennedy was assassinated. The final decision of bringing the 25th Amendment into action is the joint decision of both the cabinet and the Vice President, in this case, Mike Pence. When section 3 of the amendment is clubbed together with Section 4, the president can permanently be abstained from returning to the White House.
Congressional Democrats and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, are already urging Pence and the president’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. This involves declaring the President as unable to discharge his duties and to make this work, Pence and the Cabinet will have to together sign a letter to the Representative’s House Speaker (Pelosi) and the Senate. Once that is done, Pence will take up the duties for the remaining days until Biden takes oath as the new President of the United States.
If not the 25th Amendment, then an Impeachment is Certain
As much as Nancy Pelosi is hellbent on Trump’s removal, for which she is leaving no stone unturned to convince the VP Pence and the Cabinet, the House speaker has a plan in place to impeach Trump if nothing else works. To impeach Trump once again, the proposal will need to pass a House vote. Once the impeachment is given a green light with majority vote in the House, it is then transferred to the Senate.
If impeached, Trump will lose all his benefits that he would have enjoyed as a former president under the 1958 Former Presidents Act. It has never happened before and if Trump is impeached and barred from becoming a president again, he will be the first in the US history to leave the White House dishonorably discharged and tarnished.