In the aftermath of Wednesday’s storming of the United States Capitol, four West Virginia University professors have signed a letter calling for the removal of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
The document, signed primarily by members of academia, urges the U.S. Congress to impeach Trump, or Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment.
“The President’s actions threaten American democracy," the letter states. "He has rejected the peaceful transfer of power, encouraged state legislators to overturn election results in their states, pressured a state official to change election results, and now incited a violent mob that shut down the counting of electoral votes and stormed the U.S. Capitol.
“Our profession seeks to understand politics, not engage in it, but we share a commitment to democratic values. The President’s actions show he is unwilling or unable to fulfill his oath to protect and defend the Constitution. He should be removed from office immediately before further violence takes place or further damage is done to our democracy.”
Christina Fattore, William W. Franko, Erik S. Herron and Jason MacDonald are four of the more than 2,000 signatures listed on the document, with signees including professors, Ph.D. students and more. Signers come from around the country, in addition to locations abroad.
“I think it's important to stress that as political scientists, we seek to understand politics and political behavior,” Fattore told The Daily Athenaeum. “However, as scholars, we also have a responsibility to raise the alarm when we see democracy in danger. Saving American democracy is not a partisan issue, as we see American politicians from the left and the right condemning the events of last Wednesday and the president who encouraged them.”
Trump has come under fire in recent days for his role in the events preceding the attack on the Capitol, as well as his rhetoric. The President, while speaking at a rally earlier in the day on Wednesday, urged supporters to show strength during a march to the Capitol.
“We're going to walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women,” Trump said. “We're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
As marchers approached the building, the event turned destructive. Members of the crowd began to clash with members of the Capitol Police and law enforcement, gaining entrance to the building by breaking windows and creating other entry points.
The Senate and House of Representatives were in a joint session for purposes of counting electoral votes at the time, and the security breach delayed the proceedings. After the Capitol was cleared of rioters by late Wednesday night, the bodies resumed session, ultimately certifying the votes early Thursday morning.