WASHINGTON (CN) — The House of Representatives passed a resolution 223 to 205 on Tuesday night beseeching Vice President Mike Pence to reflect on the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week and consider invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump but Pence refused.
Pence’s decision was issued to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in a letter before the vote could even be finished.
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence said. “Last week, I did not yield to the pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation.”
Pence’s refusal to even reflect on the request means that President Donald Trump now stares down the barrel of impeachment — for a second time.
Impeachment, Pelosi has warned all week, would be the only course left to rectify the wrongs incited by Trump.
Six days ago, Pence saw a lawless mob scream for his execution as they ransacked the seat of the U.S. government. By Monday afternoon, Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a Democrat, introduced a 6-page resolution calling on Pence to reflect on his constitutional duty and “declare what is obvious to a horrified nation.”
“The time of emergency has arrived, it has arrived at our doorstep, it has arrived in our chamber,” Raskin told members of the House Rules Committee when the measure was being debated before the vote on Tuesday.
The resolution specifically does not force Pence to do anything, despite the objections issued ahead of the vote from Republican members and from Pence himself.
“As you full well know, the 25th Amendment was designed to address presidential incapacity or disability. Just a few months ago, when you introduced legislation to create a 25th Amendment Commission, you said a president’s fitness for office must be determined by science and facts,” Pence wrote. “You said then that we must be very respectful of not making a judgement on the basis of a comment or behavior that we don’t like but based on a medical decision.”
Pence continued: “Madam Speaker, you were right. 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.”
The resolution only asks Pence to merely consider the threat Trump poses and weigh his possible removal through the 25th Amendment. It was Trump who incited, “widely advertised and broadly encouraged” millions of his followers on Twitter and other social media platforms to visit Washington on Jan. 6, the resolution states, and to wreak havoc by disputing election results already determined by the public and the Electoral College.
The House and Senate underwent a “massive violent invasion,” the resolution notes, as lawmakers gathered last week to count electoral votes already certified for President-elect Joe Biden.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of dangerous individuals descended on the building, the resolution continues, expressly motivated to harm or kill the first three people in succession to the presidency — the vice president, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the President pro tempore of the Senate Chuck Grassley.
While many Republicans in the House were opposed to passing Raskin’s resolution on the grounds that it too divisive or would become a pointless time-suck, Pennsylvania Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, a Democrat, made her case for supporting the resolution bluntly.