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Two Santa Cruz County-area representatives have demanded President Donald Trump be ousted following riots at the United States Capitol this week.
Jimmy Panetta and Anna G. Eshoo, Democrats representing Central Coast Congressional districts that include Santa Cruz County, have joined dozens of other lawmakers in calling for the president to be removed from office immediately by using either the 25th Amendment or impeachment.
Mobs of Trump supporters flooded the capital on Wednesday, when the U.S. House and Senate were certifying electoral college votes for president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris.
The rioters, a group that included white supremacists and right-wing extremists who believe the election was “stolen,” breached and looted the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate. Five people who were at the Capitol during the insurrection have died, according to news reports.
In a letter posted on Twitter, Panetta and two other congressmen also asked Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to rein in Trump, who is “detached from reality, angry and acting out,” by placing checks on the president’s power to authorize nuclear strikes.
“In the coming days, as Trump’s options for remaining in the White House all but disappear, there is a real danger that the President could turn to military action at home or abroad,” the letter said.
Panetta told Lookout he was not on the floor of the House of Representatives when the Capitol was stormed on Wednesday, because the results of the presidential election were not being challenged or objected to in California.
Instead, Panetta said he was taking a call related to pandemic response when he heard banging on his office door around 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
“I actually thought it was one of my colleagues playing a prank, but it turned out to be the Capitol Police asking us to evacuate right away,” he told Lookout.
Eshoo tweeted that she was cosponsoring articles of impeachment to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, Jan. 11.
It was unclear Friday if Trump could be ousted before his term ends in under two weeks. Forcibly ousting a president — even if a Cabinet were to invoke the 25th Amendment — is a laborious, time-intensive process.