Christie, NJ congressmen discuss forcibly removing Trump from office
The violent and deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters on Wednesday sparked calls for the immediate removal of the president, even with his last day in office just two weeks away.
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J. 10th District, said Wednesday that he supports "efforts to remove Trump from office immediately."
"Then we need to expel all officials who supported this attempted coup. They serve the Constitution and should be accountable for today's national tragedy. NO ONE is above the law in America!" he said in a written statement.
Other members of the state's congressional delegation described Wednesday's violence as a coup attempt by supporters of a president so desperate to hold onto power that he has stoked baseless conspiracy theories about the integrity of the election he lost.
The day's events spurred renewed talk of Trump's cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to oust the commander in chief.
Asked by ABC News about that option, former Gov. Chris Christie said he thinks everyone in the executive branch of government needs to examine their conscious and examine themselves “to be consistent” with their sworn oath.
"He should have been repudiating those who were committing violent acts today and he should be calling on law enforcement to arrest those people," said Christie, longtime Trump advisor who often described the president as a friend.
U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J. 8th District, said of Trump: "This man belongs in jail."
The state's only two Republican members of Congress — Chris Smith, R-N.J. 4th District, and Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J. 2nd District — condemned the violence but did not fault Trump.
Van Drew had planned to vote against certifying Biden's win while Smith planned to vote in favor.
“I do believe there were many election irregularities but there needs to be proof that it is significant and would change the outcome of the election," Smith told New Jersey 101.5 on Wednesday. "Much of it has been adjudicated in the courts, some of it for lack of standing never got a hearing, so there’s concerns there.”
A national business group, meanwhile, called on Vice President Mike Pence to work with the Cabinet to oust Trump.
The 25th Amendment allows a majority of the leaders of the executive departments to declare to Congress that the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of this office."
National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons said that Trump "incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy."
Two other major business groups — The Business Roundtable, which represents corporations such as Apple, Walmart and General Electric, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — urged federal officials to end the violence in the capital and certify Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.
Even after the unrest, Trump continued to falsely claim that he had won the election. The violence interrupted a session of Congress, which was meeting to certify the Electoral College results. The Senate later voted 93-6 to reject a challenge of Biden's victory in Arizona.
Washington, D.C. police said pro-Trump protestors used "chemical irritants" on officers and that an explosive device was discovered near the Capitol. A woman was fatally shot in the Capitol, which was breached and partially ransacked by pro-Trump rioters.
Dan Alexander and The Associated Press contributed to this report.