Former Trump National Security Council member Fiona Hill blasted the president following the chaos that broke out at the Capitol on Wednesday evening, when pro-Trump rioters attempted to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE's Electoral College victory.
“The president was trying to stage a coup," Hill said in an interview with the Daily Beast published Thursday.
She pointed to a recent letter from every living former Defense secretary that denounced any potential efforts to involve the military in U.S. election disputes as evidence that there was "little chance of it happening" in real life.
"There was enough chance that the former defense secretaries had to put out that letter, which was the final nail through that effort. They prevented the military from being involved in any coup attempt. But instead, Trump tried to incite it himself,” she said. “This could have turned into a full-blown coup had he had any of those key institutions following him. Just because it failed or didn’t succeed doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.”
Widespread condemnation of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE has followed in the days since the riots, with both Democrats and some Republicans calling for his immediate impeachment and removal over his efforts to incite his followers to reject the November election results.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said Friday he'd consider impeaching Trump because he believes the president disregarded his oath of office.
"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," Sasse said.
"What he did was wicked," he added.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Fixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Beware the tea party of the left Bottom line MORE (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement on Thursday calling for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
“The President’s dangerous and seditious acts necessitate his immediate removal from office," they wrote.
On Thursday night, the president responded to the backlash by condemning the violence and stating that he would move his focus to an orderly transition of power.
"We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high. But now tempers must be cooled and calm restored," he said.