A Special Op-Ed from Our Editor-In-Chief, Jett James Pruitt
Vice President Mike Pence
I unexpectedly met Vice President Mike Pence at the age of twelve when I stood inside the Capitol Rotunda as a storm refugee, fleeing from Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
"It's an honor to meet you," I said as I extended my hand. "No, it's an honor to meet you," he said in reply.
It was in that very moment that I knew something was different about the man who I watched stand loyally next to one of the most controversial political figures in history. He was elegant. Powerful. Humble. A man who appeared to embody the Christian values he advocated in contrast to the leader he so faithfully served, despite my personal rejection of his stance on LGBTQ rights and other social issues.
Meeting the Vice President in 2017
Today, the world is looking at Pence from two very different perspectives. Liberals, clearly unified in petitioning him to invoke the 25th Amendment, and Conservatives—some so extreme that they managed to get a call for his hanging trending on Twitter yesterday—are split on whether he should stick with President Trump until the bitter end, invoke the 25th Amendment, or have him encourage Trump to resign in order for Pence to pardon him against possible prosecution.
The truth is, no matter how one views the events that have unfolded over the past few days, President Trump's relationship with the Republican Party is officially over.
The January 6th insurrection at Capitol Hill will be forever remembered as a shameful event in American History. No one in the future will even remember why hundreds of thousands of protesters even showed up to the rally, with valid concerns of election insecurity after being denied more than 60 times by the courts.
Conservatives sat back in disbelief when the Supreme Court of the United States refused to take a look at hundreds of sworn affidavits alleging fraud, even as we watched U.S. Postal Service Contract driver Jesse Morgan hold a press conference alleging he drove "130,000 to 280,000" mysterious ballots from New York to Pennsylvania.
Absolutely every single election fraud concern raised by Republicans was immediately labeled by the media as "false,""unsubstantiated," "baseless," and "ridiculous," with a line of Trump-appointed judges confirming there was not enough evidence or time to adjudicate.
But somehow, our collective gut instinct told us differently. It wasn't only the words of the president that incited the masses, it was the media's ability to instantly dismiss and erase the story that caused more anger than anything.
For this reason, we all share partial responsibility for the events of January 6th. Why?
Because an estimated 60 million voters demanded a further investigation of voter fraud allegations, and we, as a society, gave them nothing.
President Trump with Members of SCOTUS
When petitioned by the State of Texas, the Supreme Court should have held an emergency hearing to properly evaluate—and most likely, dismiss—allegations of voting irregularities.
The Supreme Court not only had the fiduciary duty as the original jurisdiction to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania (which alleged that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin violated the United States Constitution by changing election procedures through non-legislative means) they were the last, most respected venue for these allegations to be brought to light on behalf of the the American people.
Instead, the Supreme Court immediately dismissed the petition, claiming that one state has no vested interest in the electoral laws of another. Had SCOTUS taken the case, January 6th probably wouldn't have even happened.
So, as a last resort, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) led 145 Republicans in both houses of Congress to introduce legislation similar to what was proposed in 1877 when an Electoral Commission was created to quell the concerns of voter fraud in multiple states.
But as this debate took place, illegal rioters broke into the Capitol Building, and the rest became history.
Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021
The January 6th Storming of the Capitol was not only wrong, it was a horrific act of insurrection that crossed the line of Democracy, and will now affect the daily lives of Conservatives across the country.
Now with every legal and Constitutional channel exhausted, and unprecedented violence swaying public opinion, Republicans had no other choice than to choose peaceful transition of power over continuing any fight to prosecute electoral fraud.
As a young man, I believe they made the right choice. In fact, they made the only choice. But now, Republican lawmakers must understand their duty to pass new election laws that will prevent this from ever happening in the future, such as requiring voter I.D. and restricting the use of mail-in ballots to rare cases.
In other words, we must support and welcome President-elect Joseph R. Biden with open arms, while maintaining enough power in Congress to pass future election laws that will fix the root of the problem forever.
Therefore, Republican lawmakers have a very difficult choice to make within the next 24 hours:
Either soothe the anger of Trump Supporters, or repair the damage done to the reputation of the Republican Party and ask for forgiveness.
Only one person holds the key to that decision: Vice President Mike Pence.
The 25th Amendment was originally ratified to establish a line of succession if the president was unable to perform his or her duties. The 25th Amendment has been customarily invoked if the president underwent medical procedures or otherwise was incapable of performing his duties.
In order for the president to be removed, Vice President Pence—with the support of the majority of President Trump's cabinet—would have to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Pro Tempore Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) declaring the president is unfit to perform his duties.
In response, President Trump has four days to send a letter back to Senator Grassley and Speaker Pelosi stating that he is capable of resuming his position.
If Congressional leaders believe the president is truly unfit to carry out his duties, a two-thirds majority vote of both chambers of Congress is required to remove the president. That means 290 Representatives and 67 Senators would need to vote affirmatively if everyone was in attendance.
So, how would this impact the future of the Republican Party?
Not since the impeachment and resignation of President Richard Nixon has the GOP sustained such mortal wounds that could damage the future of the Conservative movement.
Politicians who faithfully supported Trump for the past four years will find themselves crucified in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Supporting the 25th Amendment is sincerely their last hope of redemption in the eyes of the public.
If Vice President Pence fails to invoke the 25th, or allows House Speaker Pelosi to take the lead in impeaching President Trump for the second time, Vice President Pence will be viewed as a complicit actor beyond the line where at least half of Conservatives withdrew their support from the President.
This will undoubtedly affect the position of the GOP in 2024, and more importantly, create a hostile environment for all Conservatives, most notably young Republican students who will be ridiculed, shunned, excluded and denied those very things vital for a successful life such as jobs, opportunities, and inclusion.
If Mike Pence invokes the 25th Amendment, it will be the ultimate signal to the world that the Republican Party has officially denounced the events of January 6th and fully moved away from President Trump.
As a Native American "progressive" Conservative, I find this official condemnation important for the future of all moderate Republicans. Without it, the party will sustain a blow not seen since Watergate, and will be unable to carry on some of the successful policies of this current administration.
Dear Vice President Pence, please have the courage and do your duty. The future of our country depends on it.
Op-Ed Written By Jett James Pruitt
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