Members of the public pushed members of former President Donald Trump‘s cabinet to remove him from office in the wake of the Capitol riot, according to emails that were recently released.
Trump faced harsh scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans after the January 6 insurrection for encouraging the behavior by pushing the message that the election was stolen from him. The House of Representatives passed a resolution urging former Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from office and make him the interim president until President Joe Biden‘s inauguration.
It wasn’t just members of Congress that urged the cabinet to take drastic action against Trump. A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request uncovered emails showing citizens also made the request. NBC‘s Scott MacFarlane posted two of the emails on Twitter, which were addressed to Pence, as well as former Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and Trump’s cabinet in general.
“President Trump has spent months inciting these events through his anti-democratic rhetoric and actions,” one email said. “This is not the time for small steps or half-actions. It’s time for patriots to step up and defend the Constitution and the rule of law.”
Another email acknowledged that the cabinet members and members of Congress who received the email would likely not “attach any importance” to their opinion. But, the author pointed to the public outcry over the Capitol riot, including statements from former President George W. Bush and Republican members of Congress.
“When the vice president and the entire Congress have to be hidden in order to be safe from the actions of the president of the United States, it is time to permanently and completely remove the president from power,” the email said. “I urge you to immediately do everything in your power to bring that about — whether through the 25th Amendment or impeachment.”
Only one Republican, Representative Adam Kinzinger, voted in favor of the resolution urging Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which the former vice president made clear was an action he wouldn’t take.
In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Pence applauded her leadership on January 6, as it showed Americans that “unity is still possible in Congress when it is needed most.” However, he disagreed with the Democratic Caucus that removing Trump was the best course of action. He called it out of step with the best interests of America or the Constitution.
“Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation,” Pence wrote. “Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.”
Pence’s letter came as the House was taking up the resolution and the former vice president urged representatives to work with the administration to “lower the temperature and unite the country.”
The Capitol riot led to Trump’s historic second impeachment, with 10 Republicans in the House voting in favor of impeachment. Seven GOP senators voted to convict Trump, but support fell short of the two-thirds votes that are necessary to convict a president and remove him from office.
Months later, Trump maintains that he won the election and continues to push for investigations into the 2020 presidential election. Amid rumors that he was prepping to announce his 2024 run, Trump said in a statement, “Fix 2020 first!”
Ahead of the riot, Trump pressured Pence to insert himself in the proceedings and send the results back to the states in the hope that it would give the former president a second term. Pence rejected Trump’s calls and while he still backs the administration’s accomplishments, he said he doesn’t think they’ll “ever see eye to eye on that day,” in reference to January 6.