Senate

Manchin: Removing Hawley, Cruz with 14th Amendment 'should be a consideration'

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said the Senate should consider removing Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) via the 14th Amendment over their objections last week to the Electoral College results. 

Speaking to PBS's "Firing Line" on Friday night, Manchin said the Senate should explore the option after a violent mob, riled up by President Trump and convinced by Republicans such as Hawley and Cruz that the election was fraudulent, ransacked the Capitol in one of the darkest points in American democracy. 

"That should be a consideration," Manchin responded when asked if the 14th Amendment should be triggered. "He understands that. Ted's a very bright individual, and I get along fine with Ted, but what he did was totally outside of the realm of our responsibilities or our privileges."

The third section of the 14th Amendment reads that no lawmaker holding office "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability." 

Critics of Hawley and Cruz, who led the effort in the Senate to object to the presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, said the amendment applies to the two senators, whom they blame for inciting the riot with their rhetoric echoing concerns of election fraud and irregularities. Last week's mayhem resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer and a rioter who was shot by another officer while trying to breach a window in the building. 

Several Democrats have called for the two senators' resignations, while Republicans have rebuked them for their objections, which Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called "dumbass."

Hawley and Cruz, however, have defended their actions, saying they were trying to address concerns from their constituents about election fraud that were propagated by the president and his allies.

"I'm totally convinced it was done because of political reasons. This was all politically motivated. This was calculated," said Manchin. "I believe that all my colleagues truly made a decision that was politically best for them and expedient for them. It was not what they believed to be true or false."

Last week's rioters unsuccessfully sought to stop a vote to certify the Electoral College results showing President-elect Joe Biden with a 306-232 victory. While the vote ultimately passed, lawmakers were temporarily sent fleeing to a secure location, where Manchin said he spoke with Hawley.

"I looked at Josh, and I said, 'Josh, you have a right to do what you're doing, but think of what's happening, what you're seeing on the monitors. Think about, basically, our country,'" he said. "There wasn't much conversation back and forth on that. He listened to me, and I could tell it was weighing on him, and I was hoping that we were able to maybe change his mind to go up there and stop his objections."

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