The top Democrat in the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, has spoken to a US military commander about taking precautions to ensure that Donald Trump cannot initiate hostilities or order a nuclear strike in his remaining two weeks in office.
“The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.
Pelosi wrote: “This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.
“The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy.”
The Joint Staff did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democratic president-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
Pelosi also said she had not heard back from vice president Mike Pence about whether he would agree to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office “for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses”.
Trump said earlier on Friday he would not attend the inauguration, breaking with long-standing tradition in American presidential transitions. The announcement of his inauguration snub was no surprise. Trump has railled against the results of the election for the last two months, pushing conspiracy theories and misinformation about voter fraud while insisting he’d defeated Biden.
Biden won both the popular vote, with more than 81 million votes cast in his favour, and the electoral college vote. Congress certified the electoral college votes early on Thursday morning, after the process was initially disrupted by a mob of Trump supporters who breached the Capitol building.
In a video shared on social media on Thursday evening, more than 24 hours after the riot at the Capitol occurred, Trump finally acknowledged that Biden would be taking over the presidency.
Presidents typically attend the inauguration ceremonies of their successors in order to help facilitate a peaceful transition of power. Three former presidents are expected to attend Biden’s inauguration: Bill Clinton, George . Bush and Barack Obama. Former president Jimmy Carter, who has attended every inauguration since his own in 1977, has said he will not attend.