“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer said in a statement.
“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” he said.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, on Thursday also called on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president, while Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) began circulating articles of impeachment.
The responsibility for invoking the 25th Amendment falls on the vice president and Cabinet.
Kinzinger, who has been sounding the alarm about Trump’s dangerous and false rhetoric for weeks, is the first Republican to publicly call for invoking the 25th Amendment — a decision he said he came to with a “heavy heart.” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — who, unlike Kinzinger, supported removing Trump from office during the impeachment trial last year — has so far not embraced the idea.
But some GOP officials have begun discussing deploying the drastic option, according to multiple reports, while some administration officials have already resigned in protest.
Kinzinger, along with many Republicans, directly blamed Trump for inciting the violence that led to yesterday’s deadly riots at the Capitol and then refusing to denounce it forcefully. Meanwhile, all three major social media platforms — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — have suspended Trump’s accounts over his rhetoric.
“The president has become unmoored. Not just from his duty. Or even his oath. But from reality itself,” Kinzinger said. “It is for this reason that I call for the vice president and members of the Cabinet to ensure the next weeks are safe for the American people. And that we have a sane captain of the ship.”
Kinzinger, a 42-year-old Air Force veteran, has long pushed back on Trump’s foreign policy moves. But while most of the Republican Party was still paralyzed by Trump’s brazen attempts to overturn the election in the immediate aftermath of Nov. 3, Kinzinger was one of the few Republicans willing to stand up to the president.
In an interview on MSNBC, Kinzinger — who some think could run for Senate or governor in 2022 — said he wasn’t concerned about the potential political blowback for crossing Trump.
“I’ve been to combat. This is political combat. I just need to be able to look at myself in the mirror. I don’t need this job,” Kinzinger said. “I like it because I like being able to impact things and represent the 16th district of Illinois. If it’s time to move on, it’s fine. I’ve been here ten years. Do what’s right and it makes it a lot more peaceful in your life.”
Burgess Everett and Quint Forgey contributed to this report.