An angry mob of violent, pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol building while the Congress was certifying Biden’s upcoming presidency. The aftermath has some journalists and politicians calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, which would effectively remove Trump from power.
Twitter users have noticed that Vice President Pence is being called “Mr. President” on the Senate floor by some people. So has the 25th amendment been invoked? Why is Pence being called Mr. President?
Vice President Pence is being called “Mr. President,” but it doesn't have anything to do with the 25th amendment. The vice president actually holds a second title: president of the Senate. It’s actually very common for Pence to be called “Mr. President” when he is in the chair of the Senate. Twitter users have provided some even more insight into the title.
VP Pence is being called “Mr. President” because he is the president of the Senate.
According to the official Senate website, “Under the Constitution, the vice president serves as the president of the Senate and presides over the Senate's daily proceedings.” During yesterday’s proceedings, Pence had a major role in certifying Biden’s presidency. This isn’t a day we normally hear a lot about during a peaceful transition of power, but because of Trump’s refusal to accept the election results, it was in the news just a little bit more than normal (OK, a lot more than normal).
Some senators objected to the results of the election, even after Trump encouraged the violent mob. These senators include Ted Cruz (Texas), Josh Hawley (Missouri), Tommy Tuberville (Alabama), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Mississippi), Roger Marshall (Kansas), and John Kennedy (Louisiana). But Vice President Pence did his job as president of the Senate as outlined by the Constitution and led the Senate in certifying Biden’s win.
Pence is being called “Mr. President” but soon, Kamala Harris will be called “Madame President.”
In addition to presiding over the Senate, the president of the Senate is the deciding vote in the case of a 50-50 tie in the Senate. According to the Senate's website, the Constitution states that the Vice President, "'shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be evenly divided' (Article I, section 3)."
This actually caused some controversy when the Constitution was originally being signed since several people thought it “violated the separation of powers doctrine.” However, this ultimately was included in the Constitution; one delegate, Roger Sherman, actually said, "If the vice president were not to be President of the Senate, he would be without employment.”
Soon enough, we’ll be entering an age with a Madame President of the Senate. This is particularly significant this year because of the results of the Georgia run-off Senate election. Although they were quite the underdogs, both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won seats in the Senate as Democrats. This means that the Senate will now be split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, so Madame President of the Senate Kamala Harris will very likely be a tiebreaker in several legislative votes.
Some thought Pence is being called Mr. President because of the 25th amendment.
According to Cornell Law School, the 25th amendment, “provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.” Basically, the 25th amendment allows the Vice President and members of the cabinet to replace the president due to their incapacitation.
Many have argued that Trump should be removed from the Presidency immediately after the violent demonstration at the Capitol that put our elected officials in danger. Several Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee have tweeted to encourage Vice President Pence to remove Trump from office. Not only that, but Governor Phil Scott of Vermont, a Republican, tweeted, “Enough is enough. President Trump should resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by the Congress.”
With elected officials on both sides of the aisle calling for Trump’s removal, along with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (soon to be majority leader) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi vowing to move to impeachment, it’s possible we could all very soon be calling Pence Mr. President until President-elect Joe Biden swears in later this month.