WASHINGTON – The violent siege of the Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters forced painful new questions across government — about his fitness to remain in office for two more weeks, the ability of the police to secure the complex and the future of the Republican Party in a post-Trump era.
The tragedy deepened late Thursday as a Capitol police officer injured in the melee died, the fifth death related to the riot.
The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Brian D. Sicknick died from injuries sustained responding to the riot on Wednesday at the Capitol.
Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters," the statement said. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he died on Thursday.
The rampage that shocked the world and left the country on edge forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials over the failure to stop the breach. It led lawmakers to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a “terrorist attack.” And it is prompting a broader reckoning over Trump’s tenure in office and what comes next for a torn nation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said any remaining day with the president in power could be “a horror show for America.” Likewise, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the attack on the Capitol was “an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president," and Trump must not stay in office “one day” longer.
Pelosi and Schumer called for invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to force Trump from office before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. Schumer said he and Pelosi tried to call Vice President Mike Pence early Thursday to discuss that option but were unable to connect with him.
At least one Republican lawmaker joined the effort. The procedure allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unfit for office. The vice president then becomes acting president.