All Michigan Democrats in Congress call for Trump's removal
All of the Democrats who represent Michigan in Congress want President Donald Trump removed from office, joining a growing movement headed by the party's leaders and spurred by what they consider Trump's incitement on Wednesday of the insurgents who stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, made similar calls Thursday, a day after a group of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building.
Schumer and Pelosi called on Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment, which requires the backing of a majority of his Cabinet. If Pence does not, Pelosi said the Congress "may be prepared to move forward with impeachment."
Pelosi's remarks came as U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, said he was circulating Articles of Impeachment that he prepared with Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.
Trump appeared to try to temper the growing Democratic anger by conceding to Biden and calling for national unity in a Thursday night video posted to Twitter. He condemned the Capitol rioters without praising them — as he did on Wednesday — but didn’t repeat any claims of widespread election fraud that he has repeatedly argued for the past two months.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in the video. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
He later added: “We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that bind us together as one national family.”
Michigan's nine Democratic lawmakers say they either support impeaching Trump or having the president's Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him with less than two weeks left in his term. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, a moderate who often works across the aisle, was the final Michigan Democrat to join the push.
Slotkin said she had heard from senior Trump administration officials the president was becoming "increasingly unhinged" and they were "concerned about the actions he could take."
"And while he has just 13 days left in power, we must as a country demonstrate that this kind of behavior is beyond the pale," Slotkin said. "I’d prefer Cabinet officials to take action, but will be ready to consider other steps, such as impeachment, in the short time we have left."
But there is a question of whether Democrats could force Trump's removal with so little time left in his tenure. Democrats control the House, but they can't gain control of the Senate until two new Georgia Democratic senators are seated. And Georgia's secretary of state has until Jan. 22 to certify the state's Senate election results — two days after Trump is set to leave office.
On Wednesday, a mob breached the Capitol building as lawmakers debated whether to certify the election, in which President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump. One woman, Ashli Babbitt, 35, of San Diego, was fatally shot by Capitol Police as rioters tried to enter the Speaker's Lobby outside the House chamber.
Meanwhile, Michigan Republican lawmakers' statements on Thursday didn't focus on the current president. Instead, they slammed the individuals involved in storming the Capitol. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, said he was "sickened over the unacceptable violence."
Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, recorded a video in front of the Capitol. The nation reached the point it did Wednesday because "a number of politicians" and "a number of my fellow Republicans" had said things "they knew were lies," Meijer said.
"They told people there was a stolen election," he said. "They told people that if they came out that they could change it that they could put President Trump power for a second term. They told them this knowing that this wasn't true."
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned Thursday in the wake of the violence, as well as at least one of Trump’s national security advisers.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, said she would support either working with members of the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment or pursuing a motion to reconsider impeachment.
"When people say, what can he do in 12 days? Well, look what he did in 12 hours yesterday," said Stabenow, the delegation's senior Democrat, Thursday on MSNBC.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat, said she is a lead co-sponsor of Cicilline's impeachment resolution. She led a letter with other Democratic lawmakers Thursday to congressional leadership urging them to reconvene both chambers and "immediately" begin impeachment proceedings.
She said the chaos at the U.S. Capitol was "on Donald Trump, period."
“Donald Trump must be removed from office immediately. I am co-leading the introduction of Articles of Impeachment and am joining efforts to hold the congressional members who supported efforts that led to yesterday’s attack accountable," Tlaib said in a statement.
"There is no place in the People’s Congress for so-called representatives who would subvert our democracy and the will of the voters. Congress must reconvene now and take action."
Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, also said Trump is "wholly unfit" to serve as commander-in-chief and that he should either resign, be impeached again or removed by the Cabinet.
"I hope that some of his Cabinet and the vice president examine their conscience and decide whether they want to take action to protect the republic, or roll the dice that something else happens between now and January 20," Kildee said in an interview.
"The president is unfit for office and has demonstrated it in more ways than one. But finally, the consequence of all of this was played out in real-time before the entire world to see. These people who have been looking the other way for so long didn't have another way to look to. Everyone was watching."
Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, tweeted those with authority to invoke the 25th Amendment should "exercise that power." The amendment permits the vice president and the cabinet to declare a president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."
"This president must be removed to preserve our democracy and protect our national security. I continue to pray for all Americans tonight," Stevens said.
Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn; Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township; and Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.
"These next 13 days are really dangerous," Dingell said in an interview. "I saw a tweet yesterday that, while he doesn’t have access to Twitter, he has access to the nuclear codes. Doesn’t that say it all?"
Lawrence said: "Our country is in danger with Trump as President. It’s the responsibility of this Congress to protect the people of this great country and the Constitution. All eyes have been opened by the events of the last 30 days, especially the tragic violence that unfolded this afternoon."
Levin tweeted: "Given the President’s incitement of violence and abdication of responsibility, I am joining my colleagues in calling on @VP to invoke the 25th amendment."
Sen. Gary Peters, the Bloomfield Township Democrat who was sworn into his second term Sunday, said Thursday that Trump had violated his oath of office and incited a violent attack on the Capitol and American democracy.
"He poses a clear and present danger to the American people and our national security. He should immediately be removed from office," Peters said in a statement. "I stand with many others — including the National Association of Manufacturers — in supporting the vice president and Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment.”
Trump spoke to a crowd of his supporters in Washington, D.C., early Wednesday before they marched to the Capitol. He also openly pressured Pence not to certify the Electoral College results that made Biden the president-elect.
The president later tweeted that "everyone at the U.S. Capitol" should remain "peaceful." But he also tweeted that "these are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away." Twitter removed that message, which was false because Trump didn't win the election.
Around the time Congress affirmed Biden's victory, just before 4 a.m. Thursday, Trump for the first time acknowledged his defeat and announced there would be an “orderly transition on January 20th.”
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by his social media director.
His own account had been locked by the company for posting messages that appeared to justify the assault on the seat of the nation’s democracy.
Staff Writer Riley Beggin and Associated Press contributed.