ALAMO, TEXAS (BLOOMBERG) – President Donald Trump said he is not at risk of being removed from office after encouraging supporters who went on to attack the US Capitol last week – but suggested President-elect Joe Biden could be.
“The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration,” Trump said on Tuesday (Jan 12) near Alamo, Texas, referring to a constitutional amendment that lays out a process for the president’s Cabinet to remove him.
He did not elaborate on how it might be used against Biden.
Democrats have called for Trump to be removed from office after last Wednesday’s riot that left five people dead including a Capitol Police officer.
The incident led to his ban from major social media platforms and set in motion plans in the House to impeach him again.
“The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time,” Trump said in remarks next to a section of his signature border wall.
Vice-President Mike Pence signalled that would not invoke the 25th Amendment after the two men met on Monday at the White House, the first time they had spoken since Wendesday.
Pence was initially furious at Trump after hundreds of the president’s supporters breached the Capitol, disrupting the count of Electoral College votes and causing the vice-president and lawmakers to flee the House and Senate chambers.
The episode raised the prospect that Pence might act to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows the vice-president and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the president from office – a move encouraged by Democratic members of Congress.
But Pence has privately dismissed the idea as not feasible, according to one person familiar with the matter.
In their meeting, Pence and Trump agreed to work together for the remainder of their term, according to a senior administration official.
The discussion added to indications that Trump has no plans to resign before Biden’s Jan 20 inauguration.
House Democrats are seeking to hold Trump accountable for the riot if Pence fails to act against the president.
Lawmakers pushed forward on Tuesday with their plans to impeach Trump for a second time, introducing a resolution accusing Trump of “incitement of an insurrection.”
Tuesday’s event was staged like a rally. Trump’s normal campaign soundtrack played from loudspeakers and a giant American flag was flown. But the only attendees were border personnel, who mostly sat silently and shifted in their seats throughout Trump’s remarks, which lasted about 22 minutes.
At the conclusion, the Village People’s YMCA blared on the speakers, the signature ending to his 2020 campaign rallies where Trump would linger on stage, pumping his fists and dancing to adoring crowds. On Tuesday, Trump simply walked off stage and into his vehicle before the first refrain.