President Donald Trump’s instigation of Wednesday’s brazen attack at the U.S. Capitol, and on American democracy itself, proved too much even for many of his most ardent supporters.
A growing number of those supporters, staffers and members of Congress in both parties signaled Thursday that the inherent risk of what Trump might do in the days remaining in his term is too great. He must go, either by the 25th Amendment or through another impeachment process, as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for.
Both actions should be taken. For the nation’s protection, members of Trump’s cabinet should immediately move to remove his official powers under the 25th Amendment. Congress should also begin impeachment proceedings.
Trump’s actions — and his refusal to repent — show that he is unfit to serve out the remaining days of his term. He revved up a rally crowd with outrageous election lies, pointed that crowd down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol and watched on TV as violence ensued. The Confederate flag was paraded through the Capitol rotunda, a symbol of our nation’s actual division and enduring fault lines. Trump openly instigated it. Even his former Attorney General William Barr denounced Trump’s “betrayal of his office” Thursday.
Think about that. The American president is a danger to the nation every day he wakes up as commander in chief.
Former Joint Chiefs chair and retired Admiral Mike Mullen warned that the nation must “act in a preventative way to prevent more from happening.”
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram shut down Trump’s accounts after wanton lies and incitements. But a president who cannot be trusted with social media needs to have the nuclear codes taken away, too.
All nine Democratic members of Washington’s congressional delegation have called for immediate removal: U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Derek Kilmer, Suzan DelBene, Marilyn Strickland, Rick Larsen, Adam Smith, and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.
“We are in a very difficult place in our country as long as Donald Trump still sits in the White House,” Kilmer told this editorial board.
So far, Republican U.S. Reps. Jaime Herrera Butler, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse have not. They should. Condemning the violence is not enough. Stopping further chaos is an absolute necessity.
Because the 25th Amendment’s removal machinery has never been used, its logistics are daunting.
Nevertheless, Pence and the cabinet should survey the damage done and what can still come and take the task on. They should unambiguously vote to remove Trump from power and show America that there are still rational Republicans in the executive branch. There are 15 cabinet positions. At least two resigned Thursday and several are filled by acting secretaries whose power to participate has never been tested. The 25th Amendment calls for a majority vote, plus Pence.
Concurrently, Congress should show the watching world that a heinous attack on representative democracy will be met with decisive action. Articles of impeachment — for this specific attack and for Trump’s reprehensible attempt to extort the Georgia Secretary of State into “find 11,780 votes” — must be drawn up, debated and voted quickly.
Trump’s intentional American carnage requires urgent accountability.
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