With a second possible impeachment of President Donald Trump on the horizon, some Republicans are saying his conduct in egging on a mob that rioted at the Capitol last week is worthy of impeachment or removal. Others, however, say taking action against Trump could inflame tensions further.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that he believes Trump should resign immediately, joining a handful of Republican colleagues calling for him to go. Toomey said that he believed Trump’s conduct is impeachable but that the appropriate step is for him to leave office before his term ends Jan. 20.
“The best way for our country,” Toomey said, is “for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible. I acknowledge that may not be likely, but that would be best.”
Toomey’s remarks reflect a growing momentum in Washington to hold Trump accountable for Wednesday’s unrest. The riots prompted a number of Republicans, including Cabinet members and longtime allies, to speak out.
“Wednesday changed everything,” former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Meet the Press.”
“They love Trump, they love the policies, they were really pleased with the successes of the first four years, but he lost them on Wednesday,” Mulvaney said of conservatives he’s spoken with. “And I think that’s, I think that’s the right thing. I think people need to know that what happened on Wednesday is just different.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime ally of Trump’s, said on ABC News’ “This Week” that if Trump’s conduct Wednesday wasn’t an impeachable offense, “then I don’t know what is.”
Christie said that while he is sure there is “some fear” among Republicans of speaking out against Trump and earning the wrath of his staunchest supporters, he hasn’t “heard it this week.”
“What I’ve heard from fellow Republicans is that they’ve had enough and that the president’s conduct quite frankly since [the riot] has gotten them upset,” he said.
Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol took place after Trump rallied supporters near the White House and encouraged them to march toward Congress as lawmakers began to tally the Electoral College results, a formality that Trump had hoped to upend. Crowds of supporters breached the Capitol, ransacking the building, forcing lawmakers, staff members and journalists into hiding and causing several deaths.
House Democrats have started drawing up articles of impeachment, which they say could be introduced in Congress early this week. As it is, majorities of Democrats in both the House and the Senate now support Trump’s removal from office, in addition to the several Republicans.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who has called for Trump’s removal via the 25th Amendment, said he doesn’t believe impeachment is the right call.
“I think it victimizes Donald Trump again, and I think there’s a moment that we’re in right now where Donald Trump, he’s looking really, really bad,” Kinzinger said on “This Week,” adding, “I’ll vote the right way, you know, if I’m presented with that. I just think it’s probably not the smartest move right now, but I think that’s going to be out of my hands.”
Speaking on CNN’s “Inside Politics,” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., called Trump’s falsehoods about the electoral process “the big lie that was being told to the American people.”
“My life was at risk, all of my colleagues,” she said. “We were sitting ducks in the halls of Congress on Wednesday, and it was terrifying. I had to have a security detail at home. I’m still receiving threats right now online and on social media, and our words are sometimes taken quite literally. Everyone was put at risk, unnecessarily so.”
But, she said, a “snap impeachment” might be like “pouring gasoline on the fire.”
“This is serious,” she said. “This is not going away any time soon. We have time in the days, the weeks and the months ahead to address [it]. I want to be thoughtful about how we go about doing it without further tearing our nation apart, because the last thing I want to see is more violence in our country in any of our cities.”
Already, Trump has been booted from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and he is facing denouncements from the private sector. Extremists are vowing to return to Washington, D.C., for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Democrats and some Republicans say it remains dangerous with him still in office.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he believes Trump should finish out the final 10 days of his term.
“The president should be very careful over the next 10 days that his behavior is what you’d expect from the leader of the greatest country in the world,” Blunt said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” adding an explanation akin to one that Republicans offered the first time Trump was impeached — that he had learned his lesson and wouldn’t engage in similar conduct.
“Now, my personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again,” Blunt said. “And if that’s the case, I think … every day, we get closer to the last day of his presidency. We should be thinking more about the first day of the next presidency than the last day of his presidency, in my view.”
He added that whether Trump committed an impeachable offense is “not really the question,” because lawmakers are almost out of time to impeach him before his term ends.
On Fox News, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of Trump’s staunchest allies and defenders, said impeachment is “not healthy for the nation.”
“We are at an important point,” he said. “I’m very concerned about where we’re at. I hope, I hope we can begin to come back together.”