Illinois representative is first Republican to call for 25th Amendment

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks to the media, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON D.C. (WMBD) — Several lawmakers have made calls to impeach and remove President Trump, and now they’re calling for Vice President Mike Pence to enact the 25th Amendment.

While these demands have been made by mostly Democratic lawmakers, Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) posted on Twitter that he also is calling for the 25th Amendment.

You can read his comments below.

“Sadly, yesterday it became evident that not only has the President abdicated his duty to protect the American people and the People’s House, he invoked and enflamed passions that gave fuel to the insurrection that we saw. When pressed to denounce the violence, he barely did so, while victimizing himself and seeming to give a wink and a nod to those doing it,” Kinzinger said in a message posted to Twitter.

“All indications are that the President has become unmoored, not just from his duty or his oath, but from reality itself. It is for this reason that I call on the Vice President and members of the cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people, and that we have a sane captain of the ship.”

“It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment and end this nightmare,” Kinzinger said. “Here’s the truth: the President caused this. The President is unfit and the President is unwell, and the President must now relinquish control of the Executive Branch voluntarily or involuntarily.”

Rep. Kinzinger is the first Republican to call for the 25th Amendment to be enacted.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) also tweeted out Thursday morning calling for the 25th Amendment to be enacted. She said if it isn’t enacted, Congress will need to reconvene to impeach and remove President Trump.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is also calling for the 25th Amendment to be enacted.

“What happened … was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Schumer said. “This president must not hold office one day longer.”

Normally, this amendment would be enacted by the Vice President if a sitting President would not be able to fulfill his presidential duties.

For example, in both 2002 and 2007, the 25th Amendment was used so George W. Bush could get a colonoscopy. That’s according to the American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara.

There was a discharge letter and then a resumption letter sent to Congressional leaders. There was also a temporary period of time when George H. W. Bush took the reins for Ronald Reagan, so he could have colon cancer surgery. That was in July 1985.

On the other side of the aisle, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) also sent a statement to WMBD’S Matt Sheehan Thursday morning regarding the 25th Amendment.

“He certainly deserves it. After what happened yesterday he should be removed from office but I don’t believe there’s stomach for it on the Republican side and there’s very little time left,” Durbin said.

A politics & government professor at Illinois State University tells WMBD in order to enact the 25th Amendment, Vice President Pence would have to call the cabinet together, and over half would have to agree the amendment must be enacted.

“The President can then object, and if the President objects to that, it goes to Congress. Congress would then vote, then if 2/3 of Congress vote in order to keep the Vice President in power. Without 2/3 of the members, the President would resume his duties,” Meghan Leonard, Associate Professor of Politics & Government at Illinois State University said.

If somehow the vote passed, that would then make Pence the President of the United States of America, at least until Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Trump did release a statement saying the transition of power would be peaceful, but he still disagrees with the election outcome.

Leonard said she has a hard time believing him.

“It’s really too little too late. Yesterday demonstrated there won’t be a peaceful transition of power. There was a movement of people who went into the Capitol to stop Congress from affirming this peaceful transition of power. That’s out the window. I think even the President suggesting now there would be a peaceful transition, he still has yet to concede that President-elect Biden won the election, that the election was not fraudulent. We’re kind of past that point. That statement, it doesn’t really do much to improve the situation,” Leonard said.

Leonard said the biggest hurdles would be getting over half the cabinet to agree, and then having 2/3 of Congress voting in favor of enacting the amendment. She also said with less than two weeks until Biden’s presidency, there may not be enough time to formally remove him from office.

While there have been other times this has happened in history, Leonard said this time would be completely unprecedented.

“Never has anything been used like this. It’s always been there as a safeguard or a plan, but never has it been used formally like this,” Leonard said.

On Jan. 6, 1965, Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana and Representative Emanuel Celler of New York introduced joint resolutions in the Senate and House of Representatives aimed at clarifying and defining the rules on presidential succession and inability in the Constitution. The Bayh-Celler proposals, which formed the foundation of the 25th Amendment, refined the processes of declaring a President incapable of fulfilling the duties of the office and filling a vice presidential vacancy.

Congress approved the 25th Amendment on July 6, 1965. The states completed ratification by Feb. 10, 1967, and President Lyndon Johnson certified the amendment on Feb. 23, 1967.

The first use of the 25th Amendment occurred in 1973 when President Richard Nixon nominated Congressman Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to fill the vacancy left by Vice President Spiro Agnew’s resignation.

In less than a year, the 25th Amendment would be used again, this time when Vice President Ford became President after Richard Nixon resigned. Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller to fill the Vice Presidential vacancy.

The Gerard R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum gives the history of the 25th Amendment.

On January 6th, 1965, Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana and Representative Emanuel Celler of New York introduced joint resolutions in the Senate and House of Representatives aimed at clarifying and defining the rules on Presidential succession and inability in the Constitution. The Bayh-Celler proposals, which formed the foundation of the 25th Amendment, refined the processes of declaring a President incapable of fulfilling the duties of office and filling a Vice Presidential vacancy. Congress approved the 25th Amendment on July 6, 1965. The states completed ratification by February 10, 1967, and President Lyndon Johnson certified the amendment on February 23, 1967. The first use of the 25th Amendment occurred in 1973 when President Richard Nixon nominated Congressman Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to fill the vacancy left by Vice President Spiro Agnew’s resignation. In less than a year, the 25th Amendment would be used again, this time when Vice President Ford became President after Richard Nixon resigned. Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller to fill the Vice Presidential vacancy.

Gerard R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum

President Lyndon B. Johnson certified the amendment.

According to the library & museum, the 25th Amendment has been used before outside of the position of president.

On Dec. 6, 1973, Ford was confirmed as the 40th Vice President of the United States. Just eight months later, Ford prepared to become the President of the United States.

This all came during the Watergate scandal with Richard Nixon, when Nixon resigned as POTUS.

Nelson Rockefeller, who was the former mayor of NYC, became the 41st Vice President of the United States under Ford. The process of getting Ford to be POTUS and Rockefeller to be vice president took just over four months.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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