Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he is open to removing Republican senators who objected to the Electoral College vote last week.
Republicans were objecting to the results of several states when the protest taking place on the streets of Washington erupted in rioting and the Capitol was stormed. Some then persisted with their objections when Congress reconvened hours later.
In an interview that aired Friday on the PBS show “Firing Line,” Manchin took a hardline stance against Republicans who objected to the vote, particularly Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas.
Host Margaret Hoover asked Manchin about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Democrats last week had hoped to use the 25th Amendment — which allows for the removal from office of a president incapable of performing his duties — to remove President Donald Trump from office. Vice President Mike Pence rejected their request that he work with the Cabinet to invoke the amendment and remove Trump.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress … who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” Section 3 of the 14th Amendment reads.
“Would you support, senator, the removal of Sen. Hawley and Sen. Cruz through the 14th Amendment, Section 3?” Hoover asked.
“Well they should look — absolutely — basically, that should be a consideration,” Manchin replied.
“He understands that. Ted’s a very bright individual and I get along fine with Ted. But what he did was totally outside the realm of our responsibilities or our privileges that we have,” he said.
During the show, Manchin said “we have to start healing our country,” but added that does not include “giving the president or any of his accomplices a pass at all.”
Manchin said he expects there will be criminal charges related to the incursion that could touch Trump.
When asked by Hoover if Trump incited an insurrection, Manchin responded, “Absolutely. No doubt at all.”
Manchin voiced his dismay that even after the incursion, Hawley objected to the Electoral College vote.
“And then Josh Hawley stands up again and objects, after we just asked, please, consider what you’re doing to your country,” Manchin said.
Manchin said that in a private conversation with Hawley, he told the Missouri Republican, “Look, Josh, you have a right to do what you’re doing, but think of what’s happening, what you’re seeing on the monitors.”
When Hoover asked what Hawley said, Manchin replied, “There wasn’t much conversation back and forth on that.”
Speaking of Hawley and Cruz — who each objected to the Electoral College vote — Manchin said he did not know “how any of them can live with themselves knowing that because of their objections, there’s five people that lost their lives.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.