Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) calls Vice President Mike Pence the “indispensable leader America needed” last week for Mr. Pence’s refusal to attempt to override the certified results of the 2020 election. This week Mr. Pence is proving himself indispensable again as he refuses to attempt to make himself president via the 25th Amendment.
The Journal’s Kristina Peterson, Natalie Andrews and Rebecca Ballhaus report:
Vice President Mike Pence rejected a push from Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment to oust President Trump over his role in the Capitol riot, setting in motion a House vote Wednesday to impeach the president during his final week in office, this time with the support of some Republicans.
Mr. Pence’s wise refusal to attempt to seize power is explained in a Tuesday letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). Mr. Pence writes:
Every American was shocked and saddened by the attack on our Nation’s Capitol last week, and I am grateful for the leadership that you and other congressional leaders provided in reconvening Congress to complete the people’s business on the very same day. It was a moment that demonstrated to the American people the unity that is still possible in Congress when it is needed most.
But now, with just eight days left in the President’s term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment. I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution. Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.
As you know full well, the 25th Amendment was designed to address Presidential incapacity or disability. Just a few months ago, when you introduced legislation to create a 25th Amendment Commission, you said, “[a] President’s fitness for office must be determined by science and facts.” You said then that we must be “[v]ery respectful of not making a judgment on the basis of a comment or behavior that we don’t like, but based on a medical decision.” Madam Speaker, you were right. Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation. Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent…
He’s right about that. As for his actions last week, Mr. Santorum writes in a Journal op-ed of Mr. Pence:
To him, constitutional conservatism is more than a campaign slogan. It is the foundation of our republic. If we abandon it when it means our side loses, we have lost more than an election—we have lost our country.
Ironically, it was in holding true to his commitment to the Constitution and standing up to the man who elevated him to the vice presidency that Mr. Pence did his greatest service to conservatives, this administration and the nation.
With the president 16 blocks away, threatening the vice president with retribution, Mr. Pence issued a statement that didn’t waver or attempt to appease his boss and the crowd demanding an unconstitutional solution. By clearly and firmly standing for and by our constitutional republic, he became the indispensable leader America needed.
Today the House is likely to impeach Mr. Trump again, but not for his false claim that Mr. Pence had the authority to reject electors. The charge from Democrats and some Republicans is that Mr. Trump incited violence though this won’t be an easy case to prove if Mr. Trump is permitted to mount a defense.