Vice President Mike Pence has rejected calls for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office days before his term comes to a formal end. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence categorically said it was unnecessary to use the 25th Amendment to remove the president.
There were reports on Tuesday that Pelosi had given a 24-hour ultimatum to Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. The House Speaker had threatened that unless Pence set the ball rolling for the president's removal, the Congress would impeach the president. Pence, the loyal vice-president of Trump, was under pressure after the January 6 riots at the Capitol to use his powers to launch the motion to oust the president.
However, in the letter to Pelosi, Pence said he believed the 25th Amendment should not be used "as a means of punishment or usurpation". He said the provision could be used only in cases of medical or mental incapacitation. Pence's letter was sent even as the House is taking up a vote on an article of impeachment against the President on Wednesday.
The vice-president weighed against the move by the Democrats in Congress to impeach the president a second time. He said the plan would not help national unity at this time. He asked Congress to step away from actions that "further divide and inflame the passions of the moment". Instead, the Democrats should focus on the transition to President-elect Joe Biden's administration, he said.
The Vice-President's decision was expected and it would disprove his critics who blamed him over failed loyalties. The hardcore Republican base had bayed for his blood after he rejected Trump's call to throw a spanner in the Congress certification of Joe Biden.
However, it is clear that he had a well argued reason for it. He did not want to step outside the Constitutional brief, plain and simple. He deserves credit for the stance, though Trump is peeved about frayed loyalties. And then, when the rioters occupied the Capitol, Pence ordered National Guard troops into the Capitol to beat back the protesters. Again, a right call, which will stand him in good stead should he pursue higher political office later on.
These actions won broad praise for Pence, who was long seen as too close a loyalist to Trump. These moves helped him shake off the overbearing Trump influence over his career. Now, the latest decision not to invoke the 25th Amendment is a right call, inasmuch as it prevents a further, needless provocation among the Republican ranks that could go all the way to ripping natinal unity apart indefinitely.