Nelson, other faith leaders sign letter calling for Trump’s removal from office

National Council of Churches letter says president’s actions and words incited a ‘seditious mob attack’ on the U.S. Capitol

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II is one of two dozen faith leaders to sign a National Council of Churches open letter dated Friday calling on U.S. officials to remove President Donald J. Trump from office.

Nelson is the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II

The letter is addressed to Vice President Mike Pence, Members of Congress and the remaining members of the president’s cabinet. It follows Wednesday’s events at the U.S. Capitol, in which a mob stormed the building, postponing the ceremonial counting of electoral votes that later certified the election of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president.

To date five people have died following the attack.

“President Donald J. Trump’s actions and words have endangered the security of the country and its institutions of government by inciting a violent, deadly, seditious mob attack at the U.S. Capitol,” the letter states. “His words and actions have placed the lives of people he is supposed to serve in grave danger to advance his own interests.”

“Further, he not only failed to stop or condemn the attack after the Capitol had been stormed,” the letter states, “but instead encouraged the mob by calling them patriots.”

The “domestic terrorist attack” resulted in at least five deaths, the letter notes, including a Capitol Police officer. More than a dozen police officers were injured. “The desecration of the Capitol building was also disgraceful and reprehensible,” the letter states.

“For the good of the nation, so that we might end the current horror and prepare the way for binding up the nation’s wounds,” the letter goes on, “we, as leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, believe the time has come for the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, to resign his position immediately. If he is unwilling to resign, we urge you to exercise the options provided by our democratic system.”

President Donald J. Trump

In addition to impeaching the president for a second time, one such option is the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which in Section 4 spells out the method by which the vice president and cabinet members inform leaders of both houses of Congress that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office. At that time, the vice president becomes the acting president.

“In addition,” the letter states, “we recognize the need to hold responsible not only those who invaded the Capitol, but also those who supported and/or promoted the President’s false claims about the election or made their own false accusations.”

“We grieve for our country at this difficult time,” the letter concludes, “and continue to pray for the safety and security, and ultimately the healing of our nation. Holding those who have abused their power and participated in these immoral and tragic actions accountable, in particular the President of the United States, is one step toward healing.”

Read the full text of the letter here.


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