Racket Editorial: Donald Trump must resign

A resignation would be better for America than impeachment

Last night, President Trump broadcast a conciliatory statement on Twitter that called for healing and pledged that he would work toward a smooth transition to the Biden Administration. The president undoubtedly hopes that this statement will satisfy the calls for his impeachment and removal.

Sadly, the president’s new attitude comes far too late.

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If you have read the Racket this morning, you know that Steve and David have slightly different opinions on whether President Trump should be forgiven or punished, but the three of us - Steve, David, and Jay - all agree that Mr. Trump’s actions require accountability.

This is especially true with the news this morning that United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick died of injuries sustained as he fought to protect the Capitol building and Congress from President Trump’s mob. Officer Sicknick’s passing brings the death toll from the insurrection to five.

President Trump provoked the attack on the Capitol both directly, when he fired up his crowd of supporters and steered them toward Congress Wednesday morning, and indirectly when he attacked the integrity of the election over the past two months. The president is culpable for the murders, mayhem, physical damage, and loss of faith in the electoral system that we have experienced over the past few months.

It should go without saying that Donald Trump should be held accountable for his actions. It would be fundamentally unjust for Mr. Trump to incite the crowd and then call for their prosecution while he escapes any punishment for his part in the horrific episode.

But, we wonder, what is best for the country?

While Mr. Trump’s actions certainly justify another impeachment and/or removal under the 25th Amendment, there is merit to the argument that the country needs to heal. Impeachment proceedings and a debate over removal would reopen the wound and possibly lead to further violence. That would be regrettable.

There is also the possibility that Republicans would once again refuse to convict Mr. Trump. This would allow the president to once again claim “TOTAL AND COMPLETE EXONERATION.” That would also be regrettable.

The best solution and one that would allow America to start to move on from this sad chapter in our history would be for President Trump to immediately resign and turn the reins of government over to Vice President Mike Pence. Pence can be trusted to handle the transition smoothly for the next two weeks.

Trump’s resignation - like that of Richard Nixon - would be a fitting punishment for his crimes. Not completing his term of office would ensure that Trump’s name lives on in perpetual shame as long as American history is remembered. In this case, resignation would also prevent the president from doing further damage before his scheduled departure on January 20.

In return for his resignation and a promise to retire from politics, we believe that Joe Biden should pardon President Trump. As with President Ford’s pardon of Nixon, a pardon of Trump would allow the country to start the process of healing. A Democratic president issuing a pardon for a Republican stalwart may also help to bridge the partisan divide that plagues us.

If Donald Trump loves America as much as he says he does, he should overcome his pride and atone for his high crimes and misdemeanors by voluntarily leaving office immediately on peaceful terms. We hope that he can summon the courage to do the right thing for his country, his party, and his supporters.

President Trump, the ball is in your court.