(January 11, 2021) VERNON, CT – Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) released the following statement today as the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote this week on a resolution (H.Res. 21) calling on Vice President Mike Pence to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the Cabinet to activate Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. The vote comes following last week’s violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by criminal insurrectionists seeking to disrupt Congress’s vote to ensure a peaceful transfer of executive power and certify a lawful presidential election in accordance with the Constitution.
The siege resulted in at least five deaths, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died defending the Capitol. It represented the first time the U.S. Capitol has been ransacked and desecrated since the War of 1812, and the first time it has been evacuated since September 11th, 2001. Leaders and elected officials, including from the President’s own Cabinet, have placed blame on President Trump not only for helping to incite the rioters to violence, but also for failing to adequately quell the destruction being carried out in his name as it was taking place.
H.Res. 21 would call on the Vice President to exercise Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which would declare President Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office and would transmit notice to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House that Vice President Pence would immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. Under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, either the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet or a majority of such other body as Congress may by law declare the President unable to discharge his duties and the powers of his office.
“Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who fulfilled their Constitutional duty last week in the face of appalling violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol, I am deeply disturbed by the events of January 6th and more so by the role our current President and his enablers played in it,” said Congressman Courtney. “The President has made unfounded, disproven allegations for months about fraud in the election, he has obstructed transition efforts, worked to delegitimize election results, and directly sought to interfere in Georgia’s elections. Just hours before last week’s siege of the Capitol—the first since the war of 1812—the President again incited a crowd of his supporters to march on Congress to violently demand overturning the lawful election.
“The severity of these events should leave no question about President Trump’s insufficient fitness for office in the remaining few days of his term. His erratic behavior, especially his role in instigating violence at the Capitol and then abandoning his duty to restore order, raises serious doubts about his fitness as Commander in Chief. It would be best for the country for the President to resign. Absent that, tomorrow the House invokes Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to instruct the Vice President to remove the President and failing that, on Wednesday, will take up consideration of an impeachment resolution. As a co-sponsor of both efforts, I intend to vote in support of them when brought to the House floor—not only to enact a measure of consequence for the President’s appalling actions, but also to ensure that our nation sends a clear warning to all those who would seek to follow his path in the future.”
The House is expected to vote on H.Res. 21 tomorrow evening. The House is expected to consider voting on Articles of Impeachment later this week.