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In his final days, Trump should turn the presidency over to Pence

In his final days, Trump should turn the presidency over to Pence
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What do we tell our children? How do we explain away the surreal images of the violent mob outside and inside of our nation’s Capitol Building?     

It’s a building that was untouched during World War I and World War II, and untouched by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but now, shockingly run over and desecrated by a horde of criminals purporting to support President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE.

Words matter. Tone matters. Actions matter.

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“1776” has been part of the rallying cry of a number of Trump supporters promising to make a “last stand to save the Republic” from his election loss. That’s ridiculous. Those who stormed the Capitol — which belongs to all Americans — turned their movement into a putrid, toxic Dumpster fire. 

The highest honor of my professional life was to work in the White House of President Reagan, a statesman who revered the Oval Office because he truly believed it is “the people’s office.” 

Out of respect for that office and the history of those who came before him, Ronald Reagan never once took off his suit-coat in that office in the eight years that he occupied it. I thought about that remarkable and patriotic symbolism as Donald Trump was shaming himself and disrespecting the presidency by attacking and demeaning his own vice president for refusing to engage in gimmicks to overturn the Nov. 3 presidential election.

As some of the thugs pledging their loyalty to him began to attack and invade the Capitol building, Trump tweeted: “Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceDeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Pence to narrate Limbaugh documentary series for Fox Nation Trump sued by Democrat over mob attack on Capitol MORE didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” Are you kidding me?

While many on the left may not like or even respect Pence, the fact is that he did display the courage needed to protect our nation when it mattered most — by outright refusing to bend to Trump’s will. Said Pence, in words of substance that will be recorded in history books: “It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.” 

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Pence stood his ground against a president in the midst of an apparent mental crisis. Trump’s increasingly bizarre words and deeds quite fittingly — and ironically — bring to mind the Winston Churchill quote regarding Russia: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

The key to Trump’s mind often seems to be what is in his best interest. Sometimes that coincides with the interests of the Republican Party. Many times, it is only about feeding his ego.

On Jan. 6, as a Joint Session of Congress was preparing to certify the Electoral College vote in favor of President-elect Biden, Trump and his unravelling ego were standing in front of thousands of supporters at the “Save America” rally on the Washington Ellipse.

“Save America” quickly devolved into “shame, shock and scare America” as hundreds from that crowd, fired up by Trump’s angry rhetoric, slipped their leashes to wage war on our nation’s Capitol and those inside. No matter what he or his most rabid supporters may say, Trump owns some of the unprecedented violence that was visited upon the legislative branch of our government.     

Enough is enough. Trump still has time to salvage some of his reputation by doing the right thing. He should walk away and turn the Oval Office over to Mike Pence, a man who stood up for the United States of America.

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.