House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats that she had contacted the joint chiefs of staff to see what kind of precautionary measures were being taken to keep President Donald Trump from accessing nuclear launch zones.
The California Democrat called the president “unhinged” as her reasoning for making such a move, NBC News reported.
“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats.
“As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses.”
Army Col. Dave Butler, spokesman for Army Gen. Milley, acknowledged Pelosi’s call and said Milley “answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” according to USA Today.
There was a concern that President Richard Nixon would launch a nuclear strike before he resigned after he was impeached, a congressional staffer at the time, Chuck Hagel, said.
Hagel added that the same concern exists today with Trump.
If Trump were to order a military strike, Milley and other senior military officials will have to decide if the order is lawful.
“President Trump’s state of mind is not very good right now,” Hagel told USA Today. “He feels everybody has abandoned him.”
Pelosi and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer have both called for the vice president and the Cabinet to remove Trump from office through the 25th Amendment.
Schumer said that if Vice President Mike Pence does not remove Trump, Congress should “impeach the president.”
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by President Trump. This president must not hold office one day longer,” the New York Democrat said in a statement Thursday.
“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 must reconvene to impeach President Trump.”
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 must reconvene to impeach President Trump.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 7, 2021
Pelosi blamed Trump for the Capitol incursion, framing it as a revolt against the government.
“Yesterday the president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America,” Pelosi said.
“The gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American democracy, and the violence targeting Congress are horrors that will forever stain our nation’s history — instigated by the president of the United States — that’s why this is such a stain,” she added.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger also joined congressional Democrats Thursday and urged Pence to take action, according to The Hill.