‘They are running away’: Clyburn blasts DeVos, Chao for resigning without invoking 25th Amendment
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn on Friday accused former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao of “running away from their responsibility” by resigning from President Donald Trump’s Cabinet before invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
In an interview Friday morning on CNN, Clyburn (D-S.C.) repeated his call for Cabinet members to join together to remove Trump from the presidency, arguing that particular constitutional remedy was preferable to launching a second round of impeachment proceedings in the final 12 days of Trump’s term.
“It’s the quickest way to do it, and it’s there. It is the proper way to do it,” Clyburn said. “But this president always liked being distinctive, for whatever reason. And he can be by being the first president in this country to be impeached twice. So if they don’t do it, I do believe that the votes are in the House of Representatives to put forth articles of impeachment.”
The third-ranking House Democrat also suggested the president is unlikely to be removed from office by impeachment with less than two weeks before his term expires.
“No, I do not believe 13 or 14 days are enough to run that. But it’s sure enough for the vice president and the Cabinet members,” Clyburn said, before invoking DeVos and Chao.
“For two Cabinet members to resign, that says to me they are running away from their responsibility. If they feel that strongly, they would stay there and wait on this meeting so they can cast two of the votes that are necessary to invoke the 25th Amendment,” he said. “They are running away.”
Spokespeople for the two resigning secretaries did not immediately return requests for comment on Clyburn’s criticism. But DeVos did weigh in with a cryptic reply to a tweet from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Warren had written that she was not surprised DeVos would “rather quit than do her job to help invoke the 25th Amendment.” In response, DeVos tweeted: “You know not of what you speak.”
DeVos and Chao on Thursday became the two most high-profile administration officials to resign in protest following the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the building amid congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. DeVos’ resignation is effective Friday while Chao’s resignation is effective as of Jan. 11.
Prior to the riot — which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer — Trump ginned up his supporters at a rally outside the White House and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” he said.
Scores of Democratic lawmakers, numerous former federal officials, some governors and at least one Republican House member have all demanded Trump’s immediate removal from office. On Thursday, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, as did Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
And Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the assistant House speaker, predicted Friday morning that the full chamber could vote to again impeach Trump as early as the middle of next week. Asked whether that potential timeline was accurate, Clyburn told CNN: “Oh, I think so.”