Bret Stephens: GOP ‘walking to the edge of moral irredeemability’
Conservative columnist Bret Stephens slammed the Republican Party in the wake of rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, saying the GOP is “walking to the edge of moral irredeemability.”
Pro-Trump demonstrators breached the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College vote, forcing lawmakers to evacuate. The rioters entered both chambers and vandalized offices and statues.
The riot led to calls for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, or for Congress to impeach Trump in the final 13 days of his presidency.
Stephens called for Trump to be impeached in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday but also argued that the GOP as a whole bears some responsibility for what took place.
He wrote that the party “capitulated to a thug” when Trump became the GOP presidential front-runner in 2015, and has “excused, ignored, forgiven, colluded in and celebrated his thuggery” in the years since.
“The Republican Party is now walking to the edge of moral irredeemability. I say this as someone who, until 2016, had always voted the straight Republican ticket and who, until this week, had hoped that Republicans would hold the Senate as a way of tilting the Biden administration to the center,” Stephens wrote.
The columnist argued that Trump’s allies — including Pence and Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — are complicit in what took place Wednesday, which he called a “Visigothic sacking of the Capitol.”
“Cruz, Hawley, Pence and the other Bitter-Enders have done far more lasting damage to Congress than the mob that — merely by following their lead — physically trashed it,” Stephens wrote. “Broken doors can be fixed. Broken parties cannot.”
Stephens ended his op-ed by slamming the GOP for allowing Trump to disrupt democratic norms and institutions for the past five years. He said the only “prescription” is to “impeach the president and remove him from office now.”
“Ban him forever from office now,” Stephens wrote. “Let every American know that, in the age of Trump, there are some things that can never be allowed to stand, most of all Trump himself.”
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