Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran and Councilman Anthony Phan are the latest South Bay leaders to join the call for President Donald Trump to be removed from office.
In a joint statement issued Thursday night, Tran and Phan addressed the City of Milpitas’ representative in Congress, Ro Khanna, urging him to reach out to Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would remove Trump from office. The memo called the president “unwell” and “unfit to serve.”
“The president recklessly, shamelessly and deliberately incited violence and chaos at our nation’s capital,” the memo read. “He had every power to forcefully contain and deescalate the situation, but chose to only passively make pointed remarks on social media, at times even subtly expressing approval.”
According to Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of the president’s cabinet can forcibly remove a sitting president from office by informing Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Pence said late Thursday he does not plan on invoking the amendment.
Phan said releasing a memo was a decision that couldn’t be delayed.
“This has gone on long enough,” Phan said. “Our American values are on the line here. It says a lot about our country if we don’t do anything in the face of tyranny.”
The move by the two Milpitas councilmembers came a day after a group of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election, falsely claiming the election had been rigged against the president.
“Typically I don’t involve myself with politics above Milpitas, but what transpired Wednesday was no longer really about politics,” Tran told The Beat. “It was about violence at the highest levels of our country.”
Rioters vandalized several legislators’ offices and openly combated Capitol police. According to several news reports, members of Congress who were inside the House chambers at the time were told to shelter in place. There were reports of pipe bombs and other explosive devices being carried inside the building by the mob, and five people were killed as a result of the upheaval.
Wednesday’s events represented the first time the Capitol building had been breached since it was burned down in the War of 1812.
It left Tran “at a loss for words.”
“There is no argument or justification for the extremist activities that took place,” he said.
An increasing number of Democratic and some Republican leaders have since called for Trump to be removed from office, less than two weeks before his term is set to expire. Several local leaders, including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, have accused the president of sedition. Early Thursday, a group of over 50 South Bay leaders — including Milpitas Councilwoman Karina Dominguez — joined in the calls for Trump’s removal as he’d repeatedly encouraged the violence the day before and abused his powers as president.
“Our society is not going to change because of one politician. Our society will be able to rise above this because of our collective power as people,” said Dominguez in an interview with The Beat. “I want people to understand the power that each of us has.”
Phan said he remains optimistic that the nation can heal after Trump leaves office. He hopes the nation can address the problems that brought Trump to the presidency in the first place.
“Unless we start taking this seriously and not looking down on folks who are advocates of social justice and stop poking fun at wokeness, we are going to be in trouble,” he said. “I’m very hopeful that now with a Democratic administration that we really have an opportunity to do some good things here and heal and recover. I hope our leaders in Washington don’t squander it.”