PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The idea of removing President Trump from office before the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden is rapidly gaining support among local members of Congress after Trump encouraged Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline appears to be the first lawmaker who on Wednesday said Trump should either be removed under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution or impeached for inciting a mob to try and disrupt the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory.
“This is outrageous, and the president caused it,” Cicilline tweeted. “We should impeach and convict him tomorrow.”
On Thursday, Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin announced he agrees that Trump should leave office. “Enough is enough,” Langevin said in a statement.
“The only course of action the president has is to resign,” Langevin said. “If he does not, Vice President Pence should use the power granted to him under the 25th Amendment to relieve him of his duties. If the vice-president refuses to do his constitutional duty, it is up to Congress to take action and impeach the president.”
The other two members of the state’s delegation — U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse — were expected to address the question when they returned to Rhode Island on Thursday. All four lawmakers are Democrats.
Across the border in Massachusetts, Cicilline’s impeachment call quickly found support on Wednesday from fellow Democratic Congressmen Jake Auchincloss — who succeeded Joe Kennedy last weekend — and Bill Keating.
“The 25th amendment must be invoked by the cabinet tonight to remove President Trump from office,” wrote Keating, whose district includes New Bedford.
“Vice President Pence, Speaker Pelosi, and Sen. Grassley are first, second, and third in the line of succession and they were effectively trapped in the Capitol today at the instigation of the president,” he said.
By Thursday morning, every member of the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation had called for Trump to be removed from office.
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1967, includes a section that allows the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to declare that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties” and transfer his powers to the vice president, serving as acting president.
Yet despite the growing outcry, it’s unclear whether Congress will actually take any action between now and Inauguration Day. The Senate is not set to reconvene until the day before the inaugural, and the House is not supposed to return to work until afterwards.
Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia expressed concern about the growing number of Trump administration officials resigning in disgust over Wednesday’s events.
“I urge the good men and women honorably serving at all levels of the federal government to please stay at their post for the protection of our democracy,” Manchin said. “The actions of a rogue president will not and should not reflect on you.”
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook