Congressional Democrats accused US President Donald Trump of inciting insurrection and weighed up impeaching him for a second time after supporters fired up by his false claims of election fraud stormed the US Capitol this week.
Amid mounting calls for his removal from office, Trump finally denounced the violence that left five people dead, including a police officer. In a video released on Thursday evening, the Republican president called for reconciliation and also promised a smooth and orderly transition of power.
In the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s assault, which halted a session of Congress held to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election win, Trump had declined to condemn the protesters but told them he loved them and repeated his claim that he was being cheated of victory.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which allows them to strip the president of his powers if he cannot discharge the duties of his office. Pence opposes the idea, an adviser said.
US congress certifies Biden win after Trump supporters wreak havoc:
Pelosi and Schumer, along with other Democratic leaders, called for immediate impeachment proceedings if Pence and the Cabinet refuse to take steps to remove Trump from power. Biden is due to take office on January 20.
“The president’s dangerous and seditious acts necessitate his immediate removal from office,” they said in a statement on Thursday evening, accusing Trump of inciting an “insurrection”.
Trump’s video on Thursday was the closest he has come to conceding defeat in the November 3 election, as he promised a smooth transition to a “new administration,” after weeks of making false claims the election was rigged and there was massive electoral fraud.
In a speech on Wednesday, Trump had exhorted a crowd of thousands to descend on the Capitol. Rioters stormed the building, overwhelming police and forcing authorities to transport lawmakers to secure locations for their own safety.
Biden lambastes language by Trump, Capitol rioters: