Sen. Angus King said Thursday that members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet should consider removing him under the 25th Amendment , as congressional Democrats indicated they would explore avenues for removing Trump within the final two weeks of his presidency.
Democrats and many Republicans, including all four members of Maine’s congressional delegation, condemned Trump on Wednesday after the president addressed protesters who later rioted at the Capitol, causing significant damage and delaying the affirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory until the early morning.
King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, characterized Trump’s “fomenting” of Wednesday’s riots as “a deeply disturbing abdication of his Constitutional obligations” in a statement on Thursday, noting that the 25th Amendment was supposed to address situations where the president is unable to carry out the duties of the office.
“Taking this unprecedented step is a grave constitutional responsibility that should not be taken lightly; however, given the actions of the President over the last several days and concern about additional impulsive actions that could endanger the country between now and January 20th, I think this step is one that the Vice President and the Cabinet should consider,” King said.
He added that Cabinet members should weigh “current danger to the country” as well as potential consequences of leaving Trump in office through Jan. 20.
Democratic leaders called for the president’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment on Thursday, warning that they may push articles of impeachment if officials did not act. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from the 1st District who called for Trump to be removed via the 25th Amendment on Wednesday, indicated her support for two impeachment resolutions.
“He is a danger to our country. This is damaging to our reputation around the world,” Pingree said.
U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from the 2nd District, whose voters backed Trump in 2016 and 2020, repeated Thursday that the president should be held accountable for Wednesday’s events. He was noncommittal on next steps, saying he had spoken with lawmakers from both parties and Congress should determine an action that could get majority support.
“Finding a way to act together will send a message to America and to the world that our democracy remains resilient and that we are united by a common purpose to protect it,” Golden said.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, had not responded to inquiries about the use of the 25th Amendment or impeachment by Thursday afternoon. Only a small number of Republicans have called for the president’s removal, including U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, who said the 25th Amendment should be invoked, and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott.