Ryan Raises 25th Amendment as Option for Trump

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan called for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office following what he characterized as an “attempted coup” and an “insurrection” that Trump encouraged.

Ryan, D-13 Ohio, accused Trump of inciting the protesters who had gathered Wednesday in Washington, D.C. and eventually forced their way into the Capitol Building, disrupting the normally ceremonial task of counting of the Electoral College votes and forcing the Capitol into lockdown.

“This is unacceptable in the United States of America,” Ryan told reporters during a virtual news conference Wednesday evening, shortly before Congress was called back into session to resume the certification process.

Ryan said he was watching the results of the certification from his office to comply with COVID-19 restrictions when he started to receive alerts on his cell phone about what was happening and changed the channel from C-SPAN to other stations to see the crowds outside. Members of Congress then were notified by Capitol police to remain in their offices before being escorted elsewhere.

Trump’s supporters, encouraged by the president, were gathered to protest the Electoral College results, which showed former Vice President Joe Biden defeating Trump.

Since the election, Trump has continuously claimed to his supporters that the election was stolen from him. Despite his claims, nearly every court challenge his supporters have filed has been rejected, including up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and officials from his own attorney general down to Republican and Democratic elections officials have said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the election results.

“The fact that the president and his family orchestrated [and] incited this kind of behavior, stimulated the emotions of this group of people to come into the Capitol is absolutely appalling,” he added. “It’s a violation of everything that we believe in.”

After witnessing what happened Wednesday and thinking about the inauguration ceremony coming up Jan. 20, it is “scary” to think that Trump will be in place for the next couple of weeks, he warned.

“We need to sit down with Republicans and say, ‘Do we really want to have this man as president?’ There should be serious conversations about implementing the 25th Amendment,” he said.

“Having this president for another couple of weeks is a real danger.”

The 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for the removal of a president if the vice president and “a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress” declares that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office. The vice president, in this case Mike Pence, would assume those powers as acting president.

Ryan also criticized “enormous strategic and planning failures” by the Capitol police and the House sergeant-at arms that permitted the protesters to get onto the Capitol grounds and into the building and questioned the lack of reinforcements he believed would be on hand.

He praised officers, who often found themselves overwhelmed by the invaders, for their efforts But he acknowledged seeing photos and video of police allowing them past fencing, and even posing with the protestors.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” he warned. “There’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very soon.”

Upon questioning, he acknowledged that the storming of the Capital would have been handled “a lot differently” had the majority of the protesters been people of color rather than the mostly white crowd involved Wednesday. “I don’t think there’s any question that communities of color would have been handled much differently,” he said.

Ryan confessed was so angry that he spoke little to Republican colleagues while they were in lock-down because he was concerned about what he might say or do. He acknowledged that one GOP colleague thought it would be “insane” to continue with objections to the Electoral College votes but wasn’t confident that they would stop.

And he criticized Republican members of Congress such as U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley for coddling and protecting Trump throughout his presidency and supporting his claims about the election to court his followers.

“How cynical to put your own political career in front of our own democracy,” Ryan lamented.

In a statement released late Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, offered a milder rebuke of Wednesday’s events.

“These shameful actions to disrupt a session of Congress and vandalize the Capitol building should never happen in our great republic. The U.S. Capitol belongs to every American and is a symbol of the citadel of democracy,” Portman said. “An attack on the Capitol building is an attack on every American. Likewise, an attack on our nation’s brave law enforcement officers is an attack on the rule of law and the safety and security of all Americans.”

Portman called on the president “to embrace the peaceful transfer of power, which is mandated under the Constitution and a hallmark of our democracy,” and for Congress to certify the Electoral College results tonight.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, condemned the violence and thanked Capitol police, but also conflated Wednesday’s events with protests by groups such as Black Lives Matter.

“I swore an oath to protect the Constitution and the rule of law. I take that oath seriously. Whether it was the violent thugs who fought with police and stormed the U. S. Capitol building today or the violent thugs of Antifa and BLM who’ve been assaulting police and attacking government buildings for the last six months, this lawlessness is wrong and should be universally condemned,” he said. “We’re all Americans, and we’re better than this.”

Pictured at top: President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.