Wall Street Journal: ‘Best case’ is for Trump to resign amid calls for his removal
The Wall Street Journal editorial board said Thursday that the “best case” for President Trump would be for him to resign from office amid calls for his removal following the violent attacks on the Capitol on Wednesday.
Trump, at a rally for his supporters on the National Mall on Wednesday, encouraged his supporters to protest Congress’s certification of the 2020 election results that began that afternoon.
Following his remarks, a group of rioters marched to the Capitol and breached security, breaking windows as they made their way through both chambers of Congress.
The breach forced media, Capitol staff and lawmakers to evacuate from the floors of the House and the Senate, halting the proceedings.
The events of the day prompted Democratic and Republican lawmakers to call for the president’s removal from office.
The Journal, in an op-ed published Thursday evening stated that Trump was too late in his attempts to call off the rioters.
“When some in the crowd turned violent and occupied the Capitol, the President caviled and declined for far too long to call them off. When he did speak, he hedged his plea with election complaint,” it stated. “This was an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election. It was also an assault on the legislature from an executive sworn to uphold the laws of the United States.”
These actions, the board stated, were “impeachable.”
However, the Journal argued against invoking the 25th Amendment or impeaching the president for a second time. Instead, the board stated that Trump should resign from his post as former President Nixon did following the scandal at the Watergate Hotel.
“If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign. This would be the cleanest solution since it would immediately turn presidential duties over to Mr. Pence. And it would give Mr. Trump agency, a la Richard Nixon, over his own fate,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in 2019, but was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate early in 2020.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) demanded that Trump be removed from office earlier Thursday, asserting that she would move to impeach him again if the 25th Amendment was not invoked by Vice President Pence and the White House Cabinet.
However, the Journal’s editorial board opined that removing Trump in this way would only give the president “more cause to play the political victim.”
“Democrats would have more impeachment credibility now if they hadn’t abused the process in 2019,” the Journal board wrote. “A parade of impeachers that includes Russian-collusion promoters Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler would repel more Americans than it would persuade. The mission would look like political revenge, not constitutional enforcement—and Mr. Trump would play it as such until his last breath.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) on Thursday was the first GOP lawmaker to call for Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment, which ensures that the government will still remain in operation should a president be deemed unable to fulfill his duties.
The amendment authorizes a majority of the president’s Cabinet and the vice president to deem a president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
“Here’s the truth: The president caused this. The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president now must relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily,” Kinzinger said in a videotaped statement. “It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment and to end this nightmare.”
The Journal board argued against invoking the 25th Amendment because, “A Cabinet cabal ousting him would smack of a Beltway coup and give Mr. Trump more cause to play the political victim.”
Multiple reports on Thursday indicated that Pence was opposed to invoking the 25th Amendment. A source close to the vice president said that he was opposed to the idea because there are less than two weeks left before Biden is inaugurated.
Biden’s victory was certified by Congress after it reconvened early Thursday morning.
“We know an act of grace by Mr. Trump isn’t likely. In any case this week has probably finished him as a serious political figure,” the Journal wrote.
“He has cost Republicans the House, the White House, and now the Senate. Worse, he has betrayed his loyal supporters by lying to them about the election and the ability of Congress and Mr. Pence to overturn it. He has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose,” it continued. “It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.”
The Washington Post editorial board similarly published a piece Wednesday, hours after rioters broke into the Capitol, calling for Trump to be removed from office.
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