Vice President Mike Pence definitively ruled out invoking the 25th Amendment in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Tuesday evening, a day before the House plans to begin impeachment proceedings.
“With just eight days left in the President’s term, you and the Democratic caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment,” he wrote. “I do not believe such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution.”
Pence alluded to the other decisions he’s made lately that have infuriated President Donald Trump, who believed erroneously that Pence had the power to overturn the November election. That idea trickled down to the pro-Trump mob that ransacked the Capitol last week, at least one of whom had tweeted extensively about Pence being a traitor.
“Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation,” he wrote.
He echoed the calls for unity expressed by many in his party, a sentiment that has drawn considerable derision in light of the mob and the Republican allegations of voter fraud that helped fuel it.
“Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States,” he concluded, adding that he would do everything in his power to ensure “an orderly transition of power.”
The letter, and reference to Biden as the incoming president, will certainly further inflame his boss, his relationship with whom has reportedly become quite strained. Still, it’s not likely to fully satisfy Democrats, many of whom have called upon the Vice President to trigger the 25th.
Mostly, it’ll serve to tee up impeachment proceedings starting Wednesday, as it becomes clear that impeachment is the most meaningful route Congress plans to take to hold Trump accountable. Earlier Tuesday, the New York Times reported that both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had warmed to various Trump punishments in recent days, news that was quickly followed by a handful of House Republicans expressing their intent to vote for impeaching the President.
Read Pence’s letter here: