DES MOINES, Iowa — Many members of congress are calling for President Trump to be removed from office by impeachment or the 25th amendment.
“I join the Senate Democratic Leader on calling on the Vice President to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
But they aren’t the only ones asking to invoke the 25th amendment, political scientists across the country signed an open letter asking to remove the president from office after protesters broke into the Capitol.
“From graduate students all the way up to, you know, Emeritus faculty in places like Iowa State but also you know Harvard and Stanford and at any institution, you care to name,” Iowa State University Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Hassid said.
“Just watching yesterday’s events unfold, very disturbing quite frankly, it’s something we’ve really never seen before,” Iowa State University Political Science Lecturer Zack Bonner said.
The 25th amendment is something that has never been used before to permanently remove a president from power.
“The 25th amendment is an interesting one. It was a 20th-century amendment and it came in the aftermath of President Eisenhower. He had some sort of a heart attack or something and basically, he was out of commission for a while at Camp David and so everyone got worried about what happens when you know, when the President is incapacitated, unable to exercise the duties of the office,” Hassid said.
“In case of disability, death, etc. So, for instance, I believe George Bush, George W Bush used it for a few hours when he was under anesthesia,” Bonner said.
Bonner said President Trump’s reason for removal would fall under section four of the 25th amendment.
“Section Four specifically kind of deals with the idea that the President is unfit or unable to discharge his duties. So even though you may not be in a medically induced coma or injured in any way. There’s something stopping him, whether it’s himself or something else from discharging these duties properly. And, you know, bringing order to the Capitol yesterday,” Bonner said.
The Vice President and the Cabinet must agree to remove the President by invoking the 25th amendment.
“If the Vice President and cabinet do not act, the congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,” Pelosi said.
Many are familiar with the term impeachment, but how is it different than the 25th amendment?
“The 25th amendment is essentially for you immediately transferring powers, whereas impeachment is more for wrongdoings. You can be impeached for bribery treason high crimes and misdemeanors which is very vague on purpose. And there’s a longer process that goes through for that,” Bonner said.
“Basically, impeachment is a way for the Congress to remove the President would there’s a formal way to do it, culminating in a trial in the Senate, and if two-thirds of US senators vote to convict a sitting president the president is removed,” Hassid said.
Even though President Trump’s term ends in less than 13 days, Bonner believes this open letter from political scientists is a sign of solidarity.
“We don’t necessarily partake in politics, but we try to understand it. But when you see something like this happening, you really have to speak up, you really have to make your voice known. When you understand how things are supposed to be running. It’s really hard to watch them do the exact opposite,” Bonner said.
Both professors said they will be talking about these historical moments in lectures for many years. Bonner even pushed back this week’s assignments and test so his students could fully bear witness to history.