Minnesota Democrats push for Trump’s removal following Capitol siege

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) speaking at news conference
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) speaks during news conference discussing the "Shutdown to End All Shutdowns (SEAS) Act" on January 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images.

Minnesota’s Democratic members of Congress are calling for President Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office following a violent siege of the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday that left four people dead and delayed certification of the presidential election results.

“No more lies. No more pardons. No more destruction. No more enabling. No more sedition. No more tolerance. The President must be removed immediately,” Rep. Dean Phillips tweeted on Thursday.

The demand is a striking turn for Phillips, a moderate Democrat from Minneapolis’s western suburbs and member of the bipartisan “Problem Solvers Caucus,” which fashions itself as above the fray of partisan fights.

Rep. Ilhan Omar quickly moved to draft articles of impeachment, which must originate in the House and be voted on by the U.S. Senate. A dozen members signed onto Omar’s resolution including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Ted Lieu of California.

“This is not a one-off incident. It is the result of years of collaboration on the part of the Republican Party, who have aided and abetted Trump’s criminal attempts to destroy our republic, and the cause of democracy around the world,” Omar wrote in a statement. “All leaders should denounce this coup. And the president should be impeached and removed from office for his open sedition.”

If passed by the House, it would be the second time Trump was impeached during his four-year term.

Impeachment proceedings would be unlikely to be resolved before Trump’s term ends on Jan. 20 and former Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president.

Other members of the delegation are instead putting pressure on Trump’s own administration to force him out by invoking the 25th amendment, which allows the president to be removed from office if his vice president and a majority of his cabinet decide he is incapable of discharging the powers and duties of the office.

“This man is dangerous. He has until January 20 to have the title of president of the United States, and I believe that should be taken away from him,” U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum said in an interview Wednesday as she sheltered in Senate offices and law enforcement cleared the Capitol.

Rep. Angie Craig, a moderate suburban Democrat like Phillips, also called for Pence and Trump’s cabinet to remove him from office.

“The president first and foremost shouldn’t have incited what happened at the Capitol today,” Craig said in an interview on Wednesday while sheltering in a secure location. “It’s every member of Congress’s responsibility to condemn what happened, but more than that, to tell the American voters the truth that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election.”

Senator Tina Smith called Trump a “clear and present danger” and said she supports a second impeachment or invoking the 25th amendment. Senator Amy Klobuchar also said she supported the president’s removal in an interview on MPR News. Both senators voted to impeach Trump last year.

Trump released a video shortly after Congress was forced to flee the Capitol, which at once seemed to egg on the violent mob while asking them to leave peacefully. Trump repeated disinformation about a “fraudulent election” and told the insurrectionists they are “very special” but should return home peacefully.

Twitter and Facebook both removed the video. Facebook kicked Trump off the platform for “at least” two weeks, until after the transition of power is complete, while Twitter suspended Trump from the site for 12 hours, threatening to ban him indefinitely if he didn’t remove three tweets.

On Thursday morning Trump acknowledged he would be leaving office and said there would be a smooth transition of power.

Minnesota Democrats were joined by at least one Republican in their demands for Trump to leave office, though not an elected lawmaker.

Former Minnesota GOP Political Director Andy Aplikowski tweeted on Wednesday, “I’m a lifelong Republican, and I’m calling for the immediate resignation of Donald Trump.”

Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.