The editorial board of USA Today called Thursday for President Donald Trump’s removal from office through the 25th Amendment, condemning him for inciting Wednesday’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol.
“By egging on this deadly insurrection and hailing the rioters (‘We love you, you’re very special’), the president forfeited his moral authority to hold the nation’s highest office, even for 13 more days,” the publication’s editorial board wrote.
“More urgent, he reinforced profound questions, and raised new ones, about his judgment and ability to fulfill his most minimal responsibilities to the country he is supposed to lead and protect. Trump’s continuance in office poses unacceptable risks to America.”
USA Today joined the editorial boards of other newspapers, including The Washington Post and Miami Herald, as well as many Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans, in calling for Trump’s removal through the 25th Amendment. The amendment allows the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare a president unfit for office, allowing the vice president to assume presidential duties.
It would be a rare step; the amendment has never been invoked to remove a sitting president, though it has been used when presidents were temporarily incapacitated. Proponents argue that Trump’s behavior has indicated he is unfit to carry out his duties and poses an urgent threat to democracy.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building after the president whipped them up with a speech falsely declaring the election was stolen from him and then encouraged them to march on the Capitol. At least four people died in the violence, including a woman who was shot.
As the disturbing events unfolded, Trump did little to stop them. He called for peace but then told the rioters he loved them and that they were “special.”
“People close to Trump say his mental state is fragile,” the USA Today board noted.
“Even though he committed early Thursday to an orderly transfer of power, who knows what pardons he might grant, what orders he might issue as commander in chief and what other desperate measures he might take before Jan. 20?” the editorial said.
Democratic leaders in Congress indicated earlier Thursday that if Trump is not removed via the 25th Amendment immediately, they are prepared to move forward with impeachment.