Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger on Thursday joined at least seven Democrats in Illinois’ Congressional delegation in calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office immediately for his role in inciting Wednesday’s fatal coup attempt at the Capitol.
Kinzinger called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to enable Vice President Mike Pence to serve out the remainder of Trump’s term, making the GOP congressman the first Republican on Capitol Hill to urge such action.
“All indications are the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself,” Kinzinger said on Twitter. “It is for this reason I call for the vice president and members of the cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people and that we have a sane captain of the ship.
“It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment and end this nightmare,” the Channahon Republican said.
Congressmen Mike Quigley, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Marie Newman and Brad Schneider also said it is time for the forcible removal of Trump through the 25th Amendment.
“The cabinet must invoke the 25th Amendment,” Quigley, a Chicago Democrat, said in a tweet late Wednesday. “This is the most efficient, urgent step we can take to remove Donald Trump from office.”
After Trump encouraged Wednesday’s deadly breach on the Capitol, Schneider said America’s democracy is at risk if the president is permitted to serve out the remainder of his term.
“If he will neither lead nor step down, then he has proven himself ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,’ and it is therefore necessary that the vice president immediately invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office,” said Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat.
The 25th Amendment never has been used to forcibly remove a sitting president from office, though it has been used when earlier presidents underwent medical procedures. The vice president and a majority of the president’s cabinet would have to agree the president is unfit for office in order for the amendment to take effect.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that angry Republican leaders and cabinet officials believe the amendment should be used to forcibly remove Trump from office.
“This nation does not have the luxury of waiting two more weeks for him to leave office,” Newman, a Chicago Democrat, said in a statement Thursday. “The 25th Amendment needs to be invoked immediately. He needs to be impeached immediately. He needs to resign immediately. The safety of this country depends on it.”
Several other Illinois Democrats want to impeach and remove Trump, including Gov. JB Pritzker.
“There is no doubt in my mind that his efforts to encourage a coup represent high treason to this democracy, our Constitution and all Americans,” the Democratic governor said. “He poses a danger to our nation. He must be impeached and removed from office immediately.”
Democratic Congressmen Sean Casten, of Downers Grove, and Bill Foster, of Naperville, also pushed impeachment on Twitter late Wednesday.
Garcia told WBEZ that there’s not enough time to impeach Trump, but said the 25th Amendment should be invoked because the president is “an unstable person” and traitorous.
“The call for insurrection from the commander in chief is on par with Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis’ role in the Confederacy,” Garcia said. “It’s sedition. It’s treason.”
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, of Naperville, said Trump bears direct responsibility for Wednesday’s “violent, treasonous attack.”
“Our democracy is at stake, and we cannot wait until inauguration day to see him removed from office,” the Naperville Democrat said. “It must be immediate.”
Neither of Illinois Democratic U.S. Senators, Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, immediately responded to WBEZ’s questions about whether they support removing Trump from office.
Meanwhile, Chicago Democrat Bobby Rush says Trump shouldn’t be allowed to attend Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Dave McKinney covers Illinois politics and government for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @davemckinney.