The nation is reeling.
The president of the United States incited insurrection against the legislative branch. With Donald Trump’s encouragement, the Capitol was invaded by a mob, the first such breach since the War of 1812 when the raiders were British soldiers.
Members of Congress, despite being attacked, returned to work to certify the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Unbelievably, some Republicans — including, shamefully, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District — continued their false claims about voter fraud in the presidential election. They deserve our scorn.
Even with fewer than two weeks remaining, Trump can do greater damage to our nation. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are pressing for Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump Cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office, with the reason being that he has demonstrated unfitness for office.
They are correct to try and remove Trump. If the vice president and Cabinet hold back, Pelosi is threatening a second impeachment. Both Democratic leaders are correct. Trump is a danger to the nation.
He is far from the only challenge to democratic norms, considering the many enablers Trump had — and continues to have — in Congress.
At the least, the Senate should censure such clowns as GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who led the objections to the vote despite knowing the election was run fairly. They did not back down even after mobs took over the Capitol, a direct result of encouragement from the president and his enablers. In the House of Representatives, more than 100 GOP members voted to decertify electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania — and several are lying outright, not just about the election but about the attack on the Capitol. Liars can be punished.
In 1861, Congress expelled 14 members because of their support for the Confederacy. Continuing to lie about the election, supporting insurrection and obfuscating about responsibility for the events at the Capitol all rise to a level that deserves punishment, if not outright expulsion. One lesson we have learned from the Trump presidency is that accountability matters.
Yet despite the attacks on the United States, there is hope amid our collective shame.
The system did work, showing again the resiliency of our democratic republic. The election of Biden and Harris has been certified despite the violent mob seeking to halt a constitutional process. On Jan. 20, Biden will be sworn into office in an orderly, if not peaceful, transition.
Yet Trump — insurrectionist-in-chief — remains in office.
Still, a growing movement is calling for his removal, with Democratic leaders, newspapers and even some Republicans attempting to persuade Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment. Most direct would be to push Trump to resign, something the conservative Wall Street Journal is recommending.
The country would be safer if Trump were out of office, away from the nuclear codes, without the power of the pardon and unable to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to push conspiracies and incite violence. Social media platforms — finally — are beginning to restrict Trump’s accounts. It’s too little, too late, but muzzling him is one way to cool the flames as we transition to the Biden administration.
Better yet would be for Trump to resign or be removed. We will turn the argument for his dismissal over to a young Republican — the kind of lawmaker who should be the future of his party rather than craven opportunists.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, said he woke up Thursday determined to reclaim his party, saying in a Twitter statement that “all indications are that the president has become unmoored not just from his duty, or even his oath, but from reality itself. It is for this reason I call for the vice president and the members of the cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people and we have a sane captain of a ship.”
Kinzinger said, “It’s time to invoke the 25th amendment and to end this nightmare. We will arise from this, but we cannot forget what led us here. The liars and conspiracy authors are already at it again this morning with false narratives about yesterday’s disaster.
“Here’s the truth. The president caused this. The president is unfit. The president is unwell. And the president must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily.”
Kinzinger laid out the case with precision. It now is up to Pence and the Cabinet, as patriots, to respond. The country remains in danger with Donald Trump in charge. It’s that basic.
Trump cares little about the country, his successor or ensuring a peaceful transition. He worked to ensure the transfer of power would not be peaceful, in fact. It’s all about Trump — as it has been since the beginning. He is a danger. That’s why he needs to go. And once gone — whether now or at 12:01 p.m. Jan. 20 — he must be held accountable for inciting an attack on the Capitol.