Within minutes of protestors breaching the Capitol on Wednesday, Republicans were revisiting the idea of removing Trump from office, a choice that nearly all of them passed on making a year ago during last year's impeachment trial.
The forceful denunciations of Trump are also unprecedented. Former President George W. Bush, who has kept a low profile, released a strongly-worded rebuke Wednesday evening calling the "insurrection" at the Capitol a "sickening and heartbreaking sight." While not mentioning Trump by name, Bush said he was "appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement."
Mitt Romney, the Utah senator who was the only Republican to vote to convict the President on an article of impeachment last year, went further, calling the President a "selfish man" who "deliberately misinformed his supporters" about the election. Romney also called the attack on the Capitol an "insurrection" and blamed Trump, saying he "stirred [supporters] to action this very morning." Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the House leadership, echoed Romney's anger and frustration at Trump. "There is no question that the President formed the mob. The President incited mob, the President addressed the mob," said Cheney on Fox News. "He lit the flame."
President Trump addresses supporters gathered in Washington, D.C.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, crowds of President Donald Trump's supporters began to arrive in downtown D.C., some praying together in groups, as they prepared for their second day of demonstrations.
Some arrived as early as 3 a.m. in order to see Trump speak at the Save America rally on the Ellipse, on the day that a joint session of Congress convened to count the Electoral College votes won by President-elect Joe Biden.
Following a day and evening of mostly peaceful but sometimes tense rallies and speeches that ended with six arrests, crowds were expected to be much larger Wednesday. Multiple groups received permits to host events with hundreds or thousands of people around the National Mall and near the White House.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke in front of supporters at a "Save America March" in Washington D.C. where he said "we will never give up, we will never concede," while continuing his widely-debunked claim that widespread election fraud took place during the Nov. 3 presidential election with Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump also said "if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. He went on to falsely claim that "states want to re-vote. The states got defrauded. They were given false information." Speaking before Vice-President Mike Pence was scheduled to count electoral votes in Congress on Wednesday, Trump said "all Vice-President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to re-certify"
(Jan. 6) Watch live as President Donald Trump addresses the Women for America First March at the Save America rally at the White House Elipse in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. --- NOTE: Joe Biden is the winner of the 2020 presidential election. There is no evidence of large-scale voter fraud. --- The rally was scheduled to coincide with the formal counting of state electors in Congress and stoked by Trump as he continues to dispute the results despite a series of court defeats and no evidence of widespread fraud.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Thursday called for President Trump to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol the day before.
“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 said in a statement.
“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president," he added.
Talk of invoking the 25th Amendment has spiked since Wednesday, when rioters overran the Capitol, breaching both the House and Senate chambers and suspending the counting of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win for hours. Congress reconvened on Wednesday night and formally finished tallying the win early Thursday morning.
Schumer is the highest-ranking Democrat to throw his support behind removing Trump from office with roughly two weeks left in his administration. Democratic lawmakers, outside groups and even GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) have thrown their support behind the idea.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is holding a press conference on Thursday afternoon, has not weighed in on removing Trump through the 25th Amendment in the wake of Wednesday's violence.
Pelosi previously backed legislation last year that would create a panel to gauge a president's capacity to perform the job — and potentially remove the commander in chief from office.
Several House Democrats have backed either invoking the 25th Amendment or impeaching Trump in the wake of Wednesday's riots.
Top members of Schumer's leadership team have also backed removing Trump, while acknowledging that Senate Republicans might not support impeachment with less than two weeks to go.
"The most immediate way to ensure the President is prevented from causing further harm in coming days is to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office. As history watches, I urge Vice President Pence and the President’s cabinet to put country before party and act," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the No. 3 Senate Democrat, said in a statement early Thursday morning.
Donald Trump’s belated “concession” to a peaceful and orderly transition of power after the storming of the US Capitol has provoked anger and conspiracy theories among some of his most ardent followers.
On social media channels and chatrooms like Parler and 4chan, where far-right Trumpists have gravitated as other social media sites have increasingly shut out the president, there were complaints of betrayal.
Trump claimed on Thursday that he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” of the Capitol siege that he had incited, and said those who “broke the law will pay” – comments that perhaps reflected concern over mounting legal and political hazard rather than a newfound sense of contrition and integrity.
Nevertheless they prompted an outpouring of anger, grief and denial from his hardline acolytes. “A punch in the gut,” said one. “A stab in the back,” another railed. From a third: “I feel like puking.”