President Donald Trump’s administration appears to be unravelling amid resignations and increasing demands for his removal or resignation with just 12 days left in his term.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have blamed Trump for the riots at the Capitol that left five people dead, including Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, and demanded either another impeachment or his removal from office through the 25th Amendment.
Education secretary Betsy DeVos and transportation secretary Elaine Chao both resigned on Thursday, becoming the most high profile members of the administration to leave so far.
Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resigned from his post as special envoy to Northern Ireland and a few more minor figures also tendered their resignations.
The resignations come as Democrats and some Republicans push for Trump to be removed from office.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who will soon become Senate Majority Leader, have both called for Trump to leave and said they will support a second impeachment effort if necessary.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger became the first Republican to demand the president’s removal. The Illinois representative posted a video on Twitter on Thursday asking the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows a president to be stripped of his powers.
“Here’s the truth. The president caused this. The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president now must relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily,” Kinzinger said.
Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan, a frequent Trump critic, said Thursday that “America would be better off” if the president resigned or was removed.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been one of Trump’s staunchest allies since his surprise election victory in 2016 but said the president’s legacy was “tarnished” by events at the Capitol.
“The president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution,” Graham told reporters on Thursday. “The rally yesterday was unseemly, it got out of hand.”
Trump’s apparent loss of authority over sections of his party extends to the executive branch as well, according to multiple media reports about the deployment of the D.C. National Guard during the Capitol riot.
It was Vice President Mike Pence, not Trump, who authorized the National Guard to respond on Wednesday. Trump was initially reluctant to deploy the National Guard, according to CNN and The New York Times, citing defense and administration officials.
These reports raise questions about Trump’s ongoing role as commander in chief and the functioning of the U.S. government more broadly if the president has lost authority and more members of the cabinet resign.
Trump’s immediate future remains uncertain. The cabinet removing him via the 25th Amendment seems unlikely at this stage and there may not be time for a second impeachment before January 20.
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News – Donald Trump’s administration falls apart in dying days over U.S. Capitol attack