On Wednesday, our nation watched in horror as a violent mob stormed the steps of the US Capitol and attempted to halt the certification of electoral votes and the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.
These domestic terrorists had been egged on by none other than the sitting president of the United States, Donald Trump, who continues to baselessly deny that he lost his bid for reelection in the November election. At a rally just hours before, Trump encouraged his followers to fight and promised that neither he nor they would ever concede the election.
Their attempt at a coup did not succeed. The Capitol was secured within hours, and the counting of electoral votes was completed. No matter what, Joe Biden will assume the presidency in less than two weeks.
There is no reason, however, that this lawless president should be allowed to continue to menace our country for another two weeks. Each day, it seems, Trump grows more and more detached from reality. In order to ensure the safety and security of our country and, perhaps, of the entire world, we must act now to remove him from power.
Wednesday night, as order was restored to the Capitol, I led my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee in sending a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, asking that he and a majority of the Cabinet invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to declare that President Trump is no longer capable of performing the responsibilities of the office.
Such an action would make Pence the 46th president of the United States, until Jan. 20 at noon, and restore some measure of sanity to this White House. Nearly two days later, however, it is now clear that this will not happen. Even in this moment of national crisis, the vice president and Cabinet are still unwilling to hold Trump accountable for his actions.
That is why I am now planning to introduce a privileged impeachment resolution as soon as this Monday. With the blessing of our leadership, this proposal could be brought up for a vote in the House within two days of its introduction, allowing us to impeach the president and immediately send the articles to the Senate for trial.
In the wake of Wednesday’s attack, even many Republicans in Congress are now saying that they do not feel the president is fit to continue in office. If they are sincere in this belief, then they should join us in this effort. Without question, failure to do so would invite further misconduct.
Within two weeks, Trump will no longer be president. Whether or not we hold him accountable before then for this most recent, egregious attack on our democracy is a decision that will echo through the ages.
US Representative David Cicilline represents Rhode Island’s First District.