On Thursday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger became the first Republican lawmaker to publicly call for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump as president. Kinzinger posted his remarks in a video that he published on Twitter.
It’s with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked. My statement: pic.twitter.com/yVyQrYcjuD
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 7, 2021
Kinzinger’s call came a day after a pro-Trump mob invaded the U.S. Capitol building where Congress was in session debating challenges to the electoral votes.
It’s not surprising that Kinzinger, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and an officer in the reserves, would be the first Republican to call for Trump’s ouster via the 25th Amendment. The congressman has been a frequent critic of the president, although he has been a reliable Republican vote for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in the House.
As in the past, Kinzinger pulled no punches in calling for Trump’s removal.
“Here’s the truth. The president caused this. The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president now must relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily,” Kinzinger, a centrist Republican and frequent Trump critic, said in a video message posted on Twitter.
Kinzinger noted that during past administrations the 25th Amendment has been invoked when a president has been under anesthesia, passing power temporarily to the vice president, “because even for that moment to have the captain of the ship absent could cause a major catastrophe.”
He didn’t stop there. He said the president had become “unmoored” from reality
The Illinois Republican said Trump “abdicated his duty” to protect Americans in Congress, “inflamed passions” that fueled the insurrection, and half-heartedly denounced the violence — what the congressman called a “wink and a nod” to his supporters trashing the Capitol.
“All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty, nor even his oath, but from reality itself,” Kinzinger said. “It’s for this reason that I call for the vice president and members of the Cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people and that we have a sane captain the ship.”
Kinzinger is calling the president of the United States crazy. Saying Trump is “unmoored” from “reality itself” borders on being irresponsible. I like and admire Rep. Kinzinger but he has neither the expertise nor first-hand knowledge to make a judgment like that. And even though Trump is in office for only 12 more days, those days needn’t be taken up with a fruitless effort to remove him from office.
Kinzinger decided to go public with his concerns after hearing some of his colleagues repeating the fantastical story that the rioters were Antifa in disguise.
During an appearance on MSNBC later, Kinzinger explained that he made the decision to publicly support the 25th Amendment effort to oust Trump when he woke up Thursday morning and saw some GOP colleagues floating baseless conspiracy theories that left-wing rioters, masquerading as Trump backers, were actually responsible for the violence.
“I think it’s obvious that there are people that their own political survival demands that they create a different narrative to what happened yesterday, and creating a different narrative is going to lead to something like this happening again, or maybe worse,” Kinzinger said.
The “maybe worse” warning is spot on. When you have politicians framing an issue as a matter of life or death, liberty or tyranny, freedom or slavery, people feel justified in doing just about anything to defend themselves or their country. We see it on both sides. “Vote like your life depends on it,” said Michelle Obama. The hysteria generated by this kind of rhetoric can lead to riots in the street or the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Kinzinger is misguided in this case. There simply isn’t enough time for the 25th Amendment to be utilized — not in any way that would satisfy the American people’s sense of justice. Railroading the president out of office should not be an option.