Ben Sasse Is First GOP Senator to Say He'll Consider Articles to Remove Trump From Office

Senator Ben Sasse said Friday he'd consider any action from the House of Representatives to remove Donald Trump from office—the first public sign of any Republican senator's openness to ousting the president.

During an interview with CBS This Morning, Sasse said that what Trump did "was wicked," as he acted against his oath to the American people "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution."

"The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move, because as I told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office," the Nebraska senator said.

But he stopped short of calling for Trump's immediate removal. Sasse told CBS anchor Gayle King that the "question is more of a prudential question: What is the best thing for America in 2022 or 2032? The question isn't what's best for Donald Trump."

Calls have been growing for Trump's removal, either through impeachment or by invoking the 25th Amendment, for his role in inciting the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

Thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest a congressional meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win. The area went into lockdown as groups of people clashed with federal police and breached the building. Five people died during the riot, including one Capitol police officer.

Before the violence erupted, Trump addressed the crowd for over an hour. During his remarks, he continued to make unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and said, "We will never give up, we will never concede."

As protesters later stormed the Capitol building, Trump posted a video to Twitter telling his supporters "we love you" but encouraged them to go home.

On Thursday, the president issued a more forceful condemnation of the events. In a video, he said that those who broke the law "will pay" and that people who engaged in the violence "do not represent our country." Trump also said there will be a smooth transition of power on January 20 when Biden is sworn into office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have called for Trump to be removed immediately via the 25th Amendment. Invoking the amendment would require the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove the president after deeming him unable to discharge the duties of his office.

Representative Adam Kinzinger was the first Republican to seek Trump's removal publicly on Thursday. "Here's the truth," he said. "The president caused this. The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president now must relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily."

Asked if she'd support removing Trump, freshman congresswoman Nancy Mace, a Republican who said the president and the GOP were responsible for the events that took place Wednesday, as they misled millions of people about the election, said she would "look at the facts and make that decision."

Sasse told CBS This Morning that Trump "has acted shamefully" and that his legacy will be stoking division and violence.

"He has been in flagrant dereliction of his duty, and he will be remembered for having incited this and for having drawn more division into an already divided people. That is who Donald Trump is. That is what his legacy is going to be," the senator said.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment on Sasse's remarks and the growing calls for his removal but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Ben Sasse sworn in by Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence administers the Senate oath of office to Senator Ben Sasse as his wife, Melissa, holds a Bible during a mock swearing-in ceremony on January 3. Sasse is the first Republican senator to say he'd consider whatever articles are brought by the House of Representatives to remove President Donald Trump from office. Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images