United States Vice President Mike Pence has refused to invoke the 25th amendment of the constitution to remove President Donald Trump from office immediately. However, his final act of loyalty came too late as many fellow Republicans begin to turn against Trump. Some of Trump’s top Republicans have already announced their support of his impeachment.
The House of Representatives’ third most senior Republican, Liz Cheney, said she would vote to impeach Mr Trump over last week’s US Capitol riot. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the constitution,” she said in the statement.
On January 12, the House of Representatives passed a resolution by 223-205 votes calling on Vice-President Mike Pence to help oust Trump using the 25th amendment.
BBC reported that Mr Pence had already rejected the Democrats’ resolution which urged him to invoke Section 4 of the amendment. That provision would allow the cabinet to remove the president if he is deemed unable to discharge his duties.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Pence said: “Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation.
“Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.”
Democrats have enough votes to pass the impeachment resolution on their own. But they will be joined by an increasing number of Republicans, shocked and outraged by Trump’s action before and after the deadly Capitol Siege.
Mr Pence refusal to go along means that Democrats will proceed to an impeachment vote. They could also use an impeachment trial to hold a vote that might lead to restricting Mr Trump from ever running for office again. The president has indicated his plans to campaign in 2024.