Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo, said Tuesday night’s vote by the House of Representatives calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office was “political posturing” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and called on the speaker to “instead work with us to heal the country.”
The non-binding resolution was passed by a 223 to 205 vote, though Pence is not expected to act and the House will vote today on an article of impeachment charging Trump with “incitement to insurrection” in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Mobs of Trump supporters took over the Capitol as Congress was counting the Electoral College votes that sealed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. At least five people died, including a Capitol Police officer who was attacked by the mob.
Jacobs, in a statement released late Tuesday night, said the 25th Amendment “is only intended to be used when a President is incapacitated – not as a means of punishment.”
“Congress has no place in this process and the Vice President’s decision not to invoke the 25th Amendment makes tonight’s vote no more than political posturing from Speaker Pelosi,” Jacobs said. “At a time when our nation cannot bear more division, the Speaker should pull consideration of this resolution from the floor and instead work with us to heal the country.”
A spokesman for Jacobs, responding Wednesday to an emailed request for comment Tuesday night regarding the article of impeachment expected to be put to a vote on Wednesday or how Jacobs intended to vote, pointed to a previous statement in which the congressman said "Carrying out an unprecedented, political and rushed impeachment proceeding with a week left in the President's term would have catastrophic effects on the civil fabric of our nation. President Trump has committed to a smooth and orderly transition of power and that should be our focus for the next week."
“The events of this past week represent a dark period for our nation. The kind of reprehensible violence we saw has absolutely no place in our democracy, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. I cherish our First Amendment right to protest, but we must settle our differences peacefully, not with mob rule. Right now, many feel disenfranchised, our nation is divided, and tensions are high," the statement said. "The last thing our country needs is more division."
Tuesday’s resolution, authored by Democrats’ resident constitutional scholar, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, specifically calls on Pence “to declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”
Pence, in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urged Congress not to pass the resolution.
“I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment,” Pence said in the letter. “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. I pledge to you I will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of Power.”
The New York delegation voted along party lines, with 19 Democrats favoring the resolution and seven Republicans, including Jacobs, voting against it.
U.S. Rep. John Katko, a Syracuse-area Republican who endorsed Trump for re-election in 2020, voted against the resolution, but said Tuesday that he will vote to impeach Trump for inciting last week’s attack on the Capitol, according to a report by the Auburn Citizen.
Katko, R-Camillus, did not support the resolution because Pence had signaled that he would not invoke the 25th, the newspaper reported.
Katko, who after November’s general election was one of the first Republicans to acknowledge Biden as president-elect, was the first House Republican to announce that they would vote to impeach the president.
Though most Republicans are expected to vote against impeaching their party’s president, one of the top House GOP leaders said Tuesday that she would support the article.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming who serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, said, “Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing.
“None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Just before the riot, Trump spoke to thousands of supporters he had helped summon to Washington on the day the Electoral College votes must be counted. Trump has alleged for several weeks that the election was stolen, and he urged members of Congress to challenge electoral votes from some states won by Biden.
Should the House impeach the president, the Senate trial is not expected to be held until after Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Includes reporting from Tribune News Service.