Members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation say they support growing efforts to remove President Trump from office, either by impeachment or use of the 25th Amendment, one day after he incited supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol and halt the certification of Joe Biden as president-elect.
Congressman Chris Pappas, Congresswoman Annie Kuster, Sen. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen all said that Trump’s role in Wednesday’s riots merits his immediate ouster from the presidency.
In a statement Thursday, Pappas said Trump “has failed the most fundamental element of the job: to support and defend the Constitution. This President should not serve one more day in office.”
Kuster, who had to be evacuated from the U.S. House chamber Wednesday as pro-Trump mobs broke into the Capitol complex, struck a similar note: “As long as President Trump is in the Oval Office, the people of this country — and our very democracy — are at risk. This man demonstrates a clear inability to discharge the duties of his office and he should be removed immediately."
Hassan said it was "intense" to be locked down in the Senate chambers and then evacuated as sounds of commotion began in the Capitol hallways Wednesday.
"It was heart-sickening to see the level of destruction that these insurrectionists engaged in," she said on a press call with reporters Thursday. "It was just completely un-American to me."
Asked if she'd call the incursion on the Capitol "terrorism," Hassan said: "Certainly what happened yesterday was terrifying, and certainly the insurrectionists did not care who they might hurt in the process."
She said she believes President Trump and his allies, including some members of Congress, have been "reckless" in spreading conspiracy theories about the election, and "bear much of the responsibility" for the mob that resulted.
"For the sake of the country, he should be removed as quickly as possible or resign," Hassan said of the President.
But during remarks Thursday to the New England Council, Hassan expressed some doubt as to whether the current Cabinet has the "stature" to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to remove a president from office.
She was also unsure that impeachment was realistic, especially after it failed against Trump a year ago.
"Impeachment allows you not only to remove someone from office, but to prevent someone from serving in federal office again, and I understand why people are looking at it," Hassan said. "I think the practical reality of getting enough people committed to do that work while also addressing a pandemic and an economic recovery that are so critical is a difficult question."
On Thursday evening, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen tweeted: "Donald Trump is unfit for office. I believed that last year when I voted for impeachment and I believe it now."
Shaheen said in a statement that she was evacuated from the Senate chambers by Capitol Police Wednesday, along a route she often walks to get to hearings at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"I caught a glimpse out the window and saw rioters climbing up the walls of the Capitol," she said. "This really struck me because ... this time, I was witnessing the kind of unprecedented assault on a government that we see in developing nations – not the most powerful country on earth. What happened yesterday was not a peaceful protest; it was an insurrection."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that they will push for Trump’s immediate removal from office given his role in Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol.
Sign up here to get NHPR's newsletters delivered to your inbox. This story has been updated with comments from Sen. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.