Trump must resign or be removed

From the editors

The last 72 hours of American history will continue to burn and smolder in a way not seen since November 22, 1963, when a gunman shot President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Instead of a man with a rifle in a book repository window assassinating a president out of hate, we now have a president assassinating the peaceful transfer of power in the most powerful nation the world has ever seen.

Much of America has lived in denial for four years. This is our wake-up call.

For the last two months, the president has railed against election results he refused to accept, despite overwhelming physical evidence. Mr. Trump preferred to stick to his narrative of a massive conspiracy against him, which included Republican governors of Georgia and Arizona, judges he himself appointed, and election officials of both parties who have overseen elections both parties have questioned.

Trump’s conspiracy theories, from his birtherism in 2012 to the “stolen election” in 2020 culminated in such a backlash, he is nearly singularly responsible in losing both U.S. Senate seats in Georgia. This is a betrayal of the party and the supporters that the president has gathered and consolidated through his demagoguery since he descended the golden escalator in June 2015. Many Republicans have become former GOP members, in and out of government, in the Trumplican purge.

As president, Mr. Trump focused on those whose unbreakable loyalty went to him and him alone, regardless of principle, action, logic, or evidence. He built a coalition of these people, which, though most are decent, hard-working folks (like most Americans of all cultural backgrounds), includes some extremists willing to go to violent lengths in service of their leader. Now, a woman has died in Trump supporters’ assault on Congress.

And because many of the policies Trump promoted, and that his administration helped move, benefitted us, and even comported with some conservative priorities and world view, we tolerated and hand-waved away the problem, though the problem was as plain as the nose on our faces.

The Trump-friendly media kept saying things would be okay, that the “Flight 93 election” rhetoric was only rhetoric. They said that Antifa and the left’s tendency to use mobs and violence was a greater threat than Trump’s malapropisms and his nutty tweets, mean streak, and self-centered intellectual laziness.

Republicans up and down the leadership ladder in Congress, in the administration, and in state parties assured us that Trump could be managed, or that his “fight” was worth the pain. Warnings from respected military leaders, ex-cabinet members, including John Bolton, were filed under “book sales opportunism.” Maybe there was some of that, but most of it was pure denial.

The last 72 hours have proved that “they” were wrong. The revelations of multiple impeachable acts, the personal arranging of a gathering at the Capitol that, quite predictably, turned into a riot that threatened the very halls of Congress performing its Constitutional duty, and the weak response via Twitter to these horrendous acts, indicate that the president is behind an attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden, who was duly elected to begin his term at noon on January 20.

They said it couldn’t happen here. They denied that Trump supporters would rise up in an insurrection against federal government and the Constitution. However, that is exactly what happened today.

The riots began after President Trump called his supporters to Washington, DC and led them to believe that Vice President Mike Pence would lead Congress in overturning the election results. This was not only a lie, it was a constitutional impossibility.

The three of us—David, Steve, and Jay—have had different opinions of Donald Trump, but we are now united in our belief that the president should resign even though at this point he has less than two weeks left in office. The president’s complicity in starting the riot and incredibly weak response to it leaves us with no confidence that the president can fulfill his obligations to lead the country for the remainder of his term. He should step down and let Vice President Pence lead the country until January 20 when Joe Biden is inaugurated.

If Mr. Trump refuses to resign, he should be removed by the most expedient method. The grounds for impeachment speak for themselves. There is no need for an investigation or testimony, though there may not be time for a formal impeachment trial. Trump’s acts are the acts of a madman or a nascent dictator. The 25th Amendment exists for this purpose, and Vice President Pence needs only two-thirds of both houses of Congress, within three days, to remove the president by this method.

If Donald Trump truly loves America, he should do the honorable thing. His continued presence can only do further damage to the United States. If he will not do the honorable thing, Congress should do it for him.