TUPELO • A majority of Mississippi’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night voted against a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and strip President Donald Trump of his power.
Splitting along partisan lines, all three GOP officials — U.S. Reps. Trent Kelly, Michael Guest and Steven Palazzo — voted against the resolution, while U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the state’s only Democrat in Congress, voted in favor of the resolution.
Despite a majority of Mississippi's delegation resisting the measure, the resolution was adopted by the House, where the Democratic Party holds a majority, by 223 to 205. The resolution is non-binding and does not require the vice president to take any action.
The 25th amendment in the U.S. Constitution allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare a president unfit for office. If a majority of the Cabinet agrees to declaring the president unfit, the vice president then becomes acting president. The section of the amendment that specifically addressed the procedure for removing a president from office has never been invoked by a vice president.
Pence, in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rejected the call to invoke the amendment to remove Trump from office, almost guaranteeing that the House will take up articles of impeachment against Trump later this week.
Kelly, who represents north Mississippi and lives in Saltillo, has not publicly said why he voted against the motion. Officials in Kelly's office on Tuesday did not respond to a request for comment on how Kelly intended to vote.
Guest, who represents the state’s central district, in a statement said that he voted against the resolution because it would be counterproductive and “and divide our country even further.”
“As we begin preparing for a transfer of power from one administration to another in less than 10 days, I believe it is vitally important to allow our nation to heal, and I believe these actions that are being pushed on the House floor would prevent our nation from beginning the healing process,” Guest said.
Palazzo, who represents south Mississippi, said that he voted against the resolution and will vote against impeaching the present. The statement did not specifically address why Palazzo voted against the resolution, but it did say that he believes measures to impeach Trump would be inappropriate.
"It is abundantly clear that America is experiencing a time of uncertainty and turmoil, and we do not need to add more fuel to an already burning fire,” Palazzo said. “President-elect Biden will be sworn into office in a mere eight days and, as President Trump promised, there will be a peaceful transition of power on January 20."
Officials in Thompson's office did not immediately return a request for comment, but Thompson, who represents the Delta and portions of central Mississippi, has been explicit on social media the past week that he believes Trump should either be removed from office or impeached.
“Impeach the loser liar in chief!” Thompson tweeted on Monday, referring to Trump.
The resolution calling for Pence to invoke the amendment stemmed over Trump’s role in inciting a pro-Trump mob to storm the Capitol last week over unfounded allegations that the election was stolen from him and that widespread fraud occurred during the election.
Trump on Tuesday said that he took no responsibility in fomenting a violent mob at the Capitol and brushed off the House’s call for his Cabinet to remove him from office.
“The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration,” Trump said. “As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.”
House leadership said that if Pence did not get the Cabinet to remove Trump from office, then the House would pursue impeachment charges against the president.
Guest and Palazzo in statements have said that they do not support efforts to impeach Trump, while Thompson has said on social media that he supports moves to impeach Trump. Kelly has not said publicly on how he intends to vote on the articles of impeachment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.