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Ari Fleischer says Trump 'on his own' after Capitol riot: 'I won't defend him anymore'

Fox News contributor and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer has vowed to no longer “defend” President TrumpDonald TrumpFBI says California extremist may have targeted Newsom House Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Facebook to dial back political content on platform MORE following Wednesday’s pro-Trump riot that overtook the Capitol. 

“At this point, I won’t defend him anymore,” Fleischer, who served in the George W. Bush administration and who voted for Trump in 2020, told The Associated Press

“I won’t defend him for stirring the pot that incited the mob,” the GOP strategist added. “He’s on his own.”

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This comes after Wednesday saw a violent mob overtake the Capitol, with rioters breaking windows and doors and ransacking offices throughout the historic building. 

Trump at a rally earlier in the day urged his supporters to march to the Capitol as Congress met to certify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Science denialism in the new administration Jill Biden to offer input on helping reunite separated immigrant families: report MORE’s win, with Trump repeating his disputed claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him.

Fleischer had previously vocalized support for Trump, writing in an October opinion piece for The Hill that he planned to cast his vote for the sitting president in the 2020 election, viewing the choice between Trump and Biden as “between a personally offensive outsider who signs good policies and a professionally offensive politician who will turn bad ideas into law.” 

“Say what you will about Trump violating norms, he has never tried to redo the balance of power by irregular means,” Fleischer wrote at the time. “But his policies will last decades, no matter or, perhaps thanks to, his personality.”

The former press secretary’s criticism of the president this week comes as several other top Republicans have spoken out against Trump’s election claims that served as the basis for Wednesday’s riot, in which five people died amid the chaos, including a woman who was shot by a Capitol Police officer and an officer who died after sustaining injuries while responding to the riot.

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On Friday, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump censure faces tough odds in Senate The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - White House targets climate change in today's executive orders The Hill's Morning Report - Biden seeks vaccine for all by summer; Trump censure? MORE (Alaska) became the first Senate Republican to call on Trump to resign following the riot. 

“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News.

While Murkowski seemingly acknowledged that she does not think Trump is likely to resign with less than two weeks until Biden’s inauguration, her remarks came as House Democrats appeared poised to impeach Trump for the second time. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Reddit traders cause Wall Street havoc | Powell: Inflation fears should not impede more coronavirus aid | NJ lawmakers press for SALT cap repeal in next relief package Pelosi asks Democrats to 'write their stories' of Capitol riot Bringing America back from the brink MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday night said that if Trump does not resign, she has directed the House Rules Committee to quickly take up a motion to impeach the president as well as legislation to create a commission that can declare that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Earlier in the week, Pelosi suggested House lawmakers would move to impeach the president if Vice President Pence and other Cabinet officials declined to remove Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment — a move Pence reportedly opposes

Meanwhile, other top Republicans have expressed doubt that a Trump impeachment will occur, with Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntTrump censure faces tough odds in Senate Senate GOP boxes itself in on impeachment Just five GOP senators vote Trump impeachment trial is constitutional MORE (R-Mo.) on Friday calling arguments to impeach the president a second time “ridiculous.” 

"The Speaker knows this is not going to happen. Sen. [Charles] Schumer [D-N.Y.] knows this isn't going to happen. You don't have the time for it to happen, even if there was a reason. So there's no reason to debate this except just pure politics," Blunt added.