By Nikhila Natarajan
New York, Jan 7 (IANS) “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue … and we’re going to the Capitol … we’re going to try and give our Republicans … the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country”. Outgoing US President Donald Trump gave his die-hard mob precise instructions for the “wild” spectacle he wanted on January 6, and they unleashed mayhem at the US Capitol with relative ease. Now, he is finally backing off.
After stewing for months over his “stolen election” fantasy, Trump finally acknowledged his defeat in the November 2020 election and announced there would be an “orderly transition on January 20th” after Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by his social media director Dan Scavino just before 4 a.m. on January 7.
Trump’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts have been muzzled for posting excusing and justifying violence.
“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
After Trump spent weeks spinning baseless claims that the election was stolen, his supporters stormed the US Capitol Wednesday and unleashed bedlam, smashing windows, and forcing lawmakers into hiding for hours until the National Guard was called in.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote in a message later deleted by Twitter. He added: “Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!”
A move to impeach him, 13 days before his term ends, has come up. Representative Pramila Jayapal called for his impeachment and Representative Ilhan Omar prepared the documents for it, tweeting: “We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our republic.”
Should the move get the approval of the Democratic Party leadership, it will go through Congress as the Democrats now control both the House and Senate.
Meanwhile, talk surfaced of invoking Article 25 of the Constitution to remove him from office. Under the article, a majority of the cabinet and the Vice President can remove the president if they consider him incapable of fulfilling the responsibilities — in this case, mental instability.
Representative Charlie Crist tweeted: “The 25th Amendment allows for the removal of a President. It’s time to remove the President.”
Describing his experience during the siege, Democratic Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi tweeted: “I’m sheltering safely on the Capitol grounds as we’re witnessing the current acts of mob destruction and violence which followed the President’s urging and his refusal to accept the result of our fair democratic election even as the courts and senior Republican leaders have.”
Jayapal was trapped in the House gallery and she recounted on CBS TV how she and a few colleagues could not leave the area while they heard shouts and gunshots outside. On the House floor, she said that she saw Pelosi being taken out and the security barricading the doors from outside.
After the jarring events of January 6, a wave of White House resignations have begun. Stephanie Grisham, the First Lady’s chief of staff, and Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger have quit. White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews have also resigned, according to reports.
Calls for Trump’s removal are growing, especially from former Republicans who worked with frenzied energy to get Biden elected. Removal requires a two thirds Senate vote, that means 67 Senators must vote for the move. CBS is reporting that Trump’s cabinet secretaries are discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. January 20 is not far, either.
By Nikhila Natarajan