Vice President Pence will not invoke 25th Amendment

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Vice President Mike Pence finishes a swearing-in ceremony for senators in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

(NEXSTAR) – Vice President Mike Pence will not invoke the 25th Amendment, according to a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday.

In the statement, Pence says, “With just eight days left in the President’s term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment. I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution.”

He said the 25th Amendment “is not a means of punishment or usurpation” and invoking it “in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.”

Pence goes on to accuse the House of Representatives of playing “political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.”

Acknowledging the “tragic events” of the Capitol storming, he said “Now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal.”

Finally, he urges Congress to “avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment,” and asks Congress to “work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”

Pence then says he will do his part “to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power.”

The 25th Amendment says the vice president and a majority of principal officers of executive departments “or of such other body as Congress” may provide a declaration to Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” At that point, the vice president would assume the powers of acting president.

The amendment was proposed after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It outlines the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation or incapacitation. 

The amendment was applied during the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. It helped with the process of replacing Spiro Agnew as vice president. It also went into play when Richard Nixon resigned.

Read more about how the amendment works here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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