The House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment Tuesday evening — but the vice president had already sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that he will not do so.
The resolution, which was introduced on Sunday, called on Pence "to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments of the Cabinet to activate section 4 of the 25th Amendment to declare President Donald J. Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting President."
It says that the "insurrectionary protests" that took place last Wednesday "were widely advertised and broadly encouraged" by Trump. It also calls out Trump's inability to commit to a peaceful transition of power and to accept the 2020 presidential election results.
If invoked, section four of the 25th Amendment can at least temporarily "sideline" the president for days or weeks at a time, Larry Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School, previously explained to PEOPLE.
The House ultimately voted in favor of the resolution Tuesday night — though the vote ended up being a symbolic one as Pence had already said he would not comply.
For the 25th Amendment to be invoked, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet, or a Congress-appointed review body, would have to declare in writing that the president is unfit for office.
Even if invoked, the 25th Amendment would not remove Trump from office completely, as would happen if he is impeached. Instead, his presidential powers would be temporarily stripped. They could be permanently revoked if two-thirds of Congress sided with the vice president and made him acting president.
Pence said in his letter to Pelosi that he does not believe "such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our constitution."
He also said that the 25th Amendment "was designed to address Presidential incapacity or disability," and said "it is not a means of punishment or usurpation."
"Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent," he said.
Pence went on to say that he is dedicated to a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden and that "now is the time to heal."
House Democrats formally introduced one article of impeachment against Trump on Monday, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" after the failed coup attempt last week that left five people dead. Several Republican representatives have said they will vote in favor of impeachment when the House votes on Wednesday.
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