Pence Refuses to Invoke the 25th Amendment

Pence Refuses to Invoke the 25th Amendment
Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 6, 2020. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

Vice President Mike Pence said that he refuses to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, saying that it would set a “terrible precedent.”

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Pence said that he does not believe that invoking the 25th Amendment is in the best interest of the nation or consistent with the Constitution.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

Letter from Vice President Mike Pence to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Jan. 12, 2021.
Letter from Vice President Mike Pence to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Jan. 12, 2021.

The 25th Amendment, adopted in 1967, states that if a sitting vice president and a cabinet majority agree that the president is not fit to perform his duties, the president can be removed and the vice president can take over the presidency.

“As you know full well, the 25th Amendment was designed to address Presidential incapacity or disability,” Pence wrote in his letter, later adding, “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.”

Pence said that the Trump administration’s energy is now “directed to ensuring an orderly transition.”

“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,” he wrote.

“I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment,” he added. “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.”

He concluded: “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.”

A Trump administration official close to Pence who chose to remain anonymous previously told The Epoch Times that there is no possibility of Pence invoking the 25th.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have both accused Trump of having incited violence, and both have called for his removal from office.

On Jan. 7, Pelosi said that Congress may move to impeach Trump if Pence and Trump’s Cabinet do not take action. At the time, she said that Trump “clearly has indicated that over and over again,” including by allegedly “inciting sedition,” referring to the civil unrest that took place on U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6.

Trump has been repeatedly calling for peace and condemned the violence that took place at and near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a group of protesters breached the Capitol as lawmakers gathered in the building to count and certify electoral votes for the now-President-elect Joe Biden.

The Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol building interrupted the lawmakers for several hours before proceedings resumed. One woman, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, died that day after being shot by Capitol police inside the building.
It is unclear who instigated the breach of the building. A video of the event shows a left-wing activist encouraging and convincing Capitol police to let trespassers through at several points.
Separately, the civil unrest that broke out on Capitol grounds left at least four more people dead—three due to medical reasons, and a U.S. Capitol Police officer was confirmed dead by the department on Jan. 7, due to injuries sustained while on duty responding to riots.