Open letter: Political scientists call for Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment

A growing list of more than 1,000 political scientists asked Congress, Vice President Mike Pence and cabinet members to remove President Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, amplifying voices of some lawmakers from both parties and industry groups demanding the same.

“The President’s actions show he is unwilling or unable to fulfill his oath to protect and defend the Constitution,” wrote signatories of the letter after rioting Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.

The 25th Amendment has never been invoked, and is viewed as a last resort or safety net when a sitting president cannot fulfill their job duties.

A mob broke into the Senate chamber during certification of the Electoral College votes, forcing members of Congress to evacuate. Many lawmakers, including the North Carolina delegation condemned their violence.

Dr. Michael Bitzer of Catawaba College, courtesy photo

“The protesters yesterday, until they climbed the steps, went past the barricades were also exercising their first amendment rights,” said Michael Bitzer, professor of politics and history at Catawaba College. “They gave up those rights when they started breaking glass and busting down doors and climbing over walls and entering the chambers, as they did.”

Bitzer noted it was the first time he has ever signed an open letter, which symbolizes many political scientists “speaking with one voice and saying that enough is enough”.

President Trump spoke to his supporters earlier in front of the White House and tweeted voter fraud claims throughout Wednesday morning. After the Capitol breach, he then urged them to remain peaceful in a video he posted on Twitter, “We have to have peace; We have to have law and order.” But in the same video, he still said “we have an election that was stolen from us”. Twitter later disabled the viewing of the content.

Bob Orr, former North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice called Trump’s gesture “too late and insincere”.

“We have never had a chief executive call for and instigate an insurrection or seditious activity like what we saw yesterday,” Bitzer added that Trump also took no initiative to protect the duly-elected members of Congress. “When one branch is under attack physically it is the duty of the commander in chief to ensure that that violence is put down that commander in chief failed yesterday.”

A Republican himself, Orr said the GOP has continued to enable Trump and his supporters to engage in conspiracy theories, spread hatred and instigate violence ever since he started to run for office. Orr explained what angered him the most was that many Republicans continued to contest the election results as if nothing had happened Wednesday night.

“Any elected official for sure needs to be held accountable to the laws of the country and the constitutional limitations on them, and when they violate them they need to pay the consequences,” Orr said. “For four years, Donald Trump … has gotten away with all sorts of violations of the law and breaches of the Constitution in my opinion, and we will see what happens next.”

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