Vice President Pence on Tuesday rebuffed calls from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.
"I do not believe such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution," Pence wrote in a letter to Pelosi released Tuesday night.
"Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation," he added.
Pence wrote that using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump would “set a terrible precedent.” Instead, he argued that it should only be used in instances where the president is incapacitated or has a disability that prevents them from carrying out the duties of the office.
“I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame passions of the moment,” Pence wrote. “Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. I pledge to you that I will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power. So help me God."
Pelosi's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The vice president wrote to Pelosi on the eve of a House vote on an article of impeachment against Trump for his role in Wednesday's riot at the Capitol, where multiple people died, including a Capitol Police officer. Multiple Republicans have said they will vote in favor of impeaching Trump just one week before his term ends.
Thousands of the president's supporters descended on Washington, D.C., last week to protest the certification of the electoral results affirming Biden as the next president after Trump spent weeks refusing to concede and insisting the election had been "stolen."
Trump, at a rally that morning, urged his supporters to walk over to the Capitol and encourage lawmakers to reject the results. He also repeatedly pressured Pence to intervene and stop Biden from being declared the winner, something the vice president does not have the power to do.
Pro-Trump mobs later overwhelmed law enforcement and stormed the Capitol complex. The vice president, lawmakers, staff and journalists were evacuated or ordered to shelter in place.
Video and firsthand accounts have since emerged of the mob assaulting police, breaking down doors, shattering windows and carrying zip ties. Dozens have been arrested in connection with the chaos, including one man who entered Pelosi's office.
Trump's conduct triggered calls from Democrats for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, by which the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members can deem the president unfit for office and push to remove him. But the movement gained little traction as multiple Cabinet members who would need to sign on resigned after last week's riot.
Trump has yet to acknowledge his role in the mayhem or publicly comment on the death of the Capitol Police officer. The president told reporters earlier Tuesday that he felt his comments to supporters on the day of the riots were "totally appropriate."
At a speech later in the day in Texas to tout his immigration agenda, Trump nodded to the unlikely scenario where he'd be removed from office via the 25th Amendment.
"The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration," Trump said. "As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for."