A recurring theme throughout former President Donald Trump’s tenure in office was talk among the president’s haters in the Democratic Party and media about utilizing a provision of the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
It has now been revealed that such talk was not entirely exclusive to Trump’s opponents, but rather was a topic of discussion within the president’s Cabinet after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in 2021, according to former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Washington Examiner reported.
That revelation came in an interview with DeVos that was coincidentally published on the same day that the highly partisan House Select Committee tasked with investigating the Capitol riot held its first public hearing as part of its admitted effort to pin the blame for that violent event entirely on the former president.
25th Amendment’s removal of a president provision
DeVos explained in the interview with USA Today that, following the Capitol riot, she had begun to explore and discuss with others the possibility of removing then-President Trump from office by way of the 25th Amendment. However, once she realized that then-Vice President Mike Pence would not go along with such an effort, she instead tendered her resignation.
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment provides for the ability of the vice president, in conjunction with a majority of Cabinet officials, to submit a written declaration to Congress asserting that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” and that the vice president should assume the role of acting president.
The ousted president can challenge that declaration with one of their own asserting their continued fitness to serve, and it is ultimately up to Congress to settle any dispute within a specified period of time with two-thirds majorities in each chamber and determine whether the president or vice president should be in charge.
25th Amendment was discussed within Trump’s Cabinet
“I spoke with the vice president and just let him know I was there to do whatever he wanted and needed me to do or help with, and he made it very clear that he was not going to go in that direction or that path,” DeVos said in the USA Today interview. “I spoke with colleagues. I wanted to get a better understanding of the law itself and see if it was applicable in this case. There were more than a few people who had those conversations internally.”
“I really felt that everything I could accomplish in office had been accomplished based on that reality and that dynamic,” she said of her decision to resign in the wake of the riot, for which she held Trump at least partially responsible.
“When I saw what was happening on Jan. 6 and didn’t see the president step in and do what he could have done to turn it back or slow it down or really address the situation, it was just obvious to me that I couldn’t continue,” DeVos added.
DeVos blamed Trump’s “rhetoric” for inciting the Capitol riot
That explanation appears to generally track with what DeVos wrote in her resignation letter that was sent to Trump on Jan. 7, 2021, just two weeks before when she would have left office regardless due to the change in administration.
“We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people. Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protesters overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business,” she wrote. “That behavior was unconscionable for our country. There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”
DeVos went on to seemingly chastise the president for failing in his “moral obligation” to model good behavior and judgment in front of the nation’s “impressionable children” — hence, her decision to abruptly resign from her position in his administration.