Vice President Mike Pence is ruling out invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power.
In a letter sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi late Tuesday evening, Pence says he believes invoking the 25th Amendment is not "in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution" and said the mechanism should not be used "as a means of punishment or usurpation." Pence added the action should be reserved for cases of medical or mental incapacitation.
The letter comes as the House votes Tuesday night on articles of impeachment and a resolution invoking the 25th Amendment. Pence has encouraged Congress to avoid actions to "further divide and inflame the passions of the moment" and to focus on smoothing the transition to President-Elect Joe Biden's administration.
Pelosi has called on Pence to secure the majority of the Cabinet and vote to declare Trump unfit to serve. She has said that if Pence rejects use of the 25th Amendment, the House will move to impeach him. Several Republicans have already said they would vote for that.
Below is the full text of Pence's letter to the House Speaker:
Every American was shocked and saddened by the attack on our Nation's Capitol last week, and I am grateful for the leadership that you and other congressional leaders provided in reconvening Congress to complete the people's business on the very same day. It was a moment that demonstrated to the American people the unity that is still possible in Congress when it is needed most.
But now, with just eight days left in the President's term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment. I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution. Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.
As you know full well, the 25th Amendment was designed to address Presidential incapacity or disability,. Just a few months ago, when you introduced legislation to create a 25th Amendment Commission, you said, “[a] President's fitness for office must be determined by science and You said then that we must be “[v]ery respectful of not making a judgment on the basis of a comment or behavior that we don't like, but based on a medical decision.” Madam Speaker, you were right. Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation. Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.
After the horrific events of this last week, our Administration's energy is directed to ensuring an orderly transition. The Bible says that “for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven...a time to heal, ... and a time to build up.” That time is now. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic hardship for millions of Americans, and the tragic events of January 6th, now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal.
I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment. Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. I pledge to you that I will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power. So help me God.
The House vote can be watched live below:
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