WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - Both of New York’s U.S. senators called Thursday for President Trump to be removed from office immediately, after Wednesday’s violent protests in the nation’s capitol.
Separately, north country congresswoman Elise Stefanik acknowledged Joe Biden as the president-elect, and said there will be a “peaceful transfer of power” on January 20, inauguration day.
Stefanik had declined to acknowledge Biden’s victory in the weeks after the November 3 election.
Senator Charles Schumer said in a statement Thursday “What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.
“This president should not hold office one day longer.”
Schumer called on Vice-President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of a president unable to carry out his or her duties.
Failing in that, Schumer said Congress should impeach Trump.
New York’s other U.S. Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, agreed.
“Every option available, from evoking the 25th amendment to impeachment and removal to criminal prosecution should all be on the table,” Gillibrand said Thursday.
“He should be removed from office for the next two weeks, because I think he’s dangerous.”
As a practical matter, it appeared unlikely Thursday that either the 25th Amendment or impeachment would be called on. As of Friday, President Trump only has 12 days in office left - impeachment is a slow process, and the 25th Amendment, used in this fashion, is untested.
After Wednesday’s violence at the Capitol was quelled, Stefanik continued to pursue objections to the presidential vote Biden won. She planned on objecting to the presidential vote in four states - Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, though only Pennsylvania came to a vote in Congress Wednesday night..
In an interview with our Washington bureau Thursday morning, Stefanik argued that her objections were based only on how the presidential votes were conducted in the four states, and whether laws and the Constitution were followed.
“As someone who serves at the federal level, in - essentially - the legislature, I believe constitutionally that election laws are written by the state legislatures. They’re not written by governors, they’re not written by judges,” Stefanik said.
In all four states, courts repeatedly turned back challenges to the election, and recounts did not change the results.
(The Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s Aaron Cerbone has a detailed fact check on Stefanik’s claims about voting problems in the four states. Read it here.)
Told of the constitutionality argument Stefanik advanced, Gillibrand said Stefanik “has been a lackey for President Trump from the very beginning.
“She lacks discipline and understanding of the harm that President Trump has created and caused to this country, and her unwillingness to speak the truth and to be honest is undermining her credibility as a member of congress and is complicit in what President Trump has done to this country,” Gillibrand said.
Stefanik pointed out that in past elections, Democrats have challenged the vote in key states - though not with the support of the losing candidate, or with such a large number of members of congress signing on to the challenge.
Stefanik said Wednesday night’s debate over the presidential vote - and Congress certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the election - showed “The U.S. Congress worked and certified this election despite important debates that were had, important debates for the American people to hear.”
Stefanik also said she wants President Trump to address the American people and forcefully condemn Wednesday’s violence.
“I think there was very heated rhetoric and I know the president loves the American people deeply, and I believe that he needs to strongly condemn the actions that were taken,” she said.