Trump finally promises transition as calls mount to remove him

প্রকাশিত: ২:১২ অপরাহ্ণ , জানুয়ারি ৮, ২০২১

Donald Trump for the first time
Thursday promised a smooth transition to Joe Biden and acknowledged his
presidency was ending as calls grew for his removal from office for
encouraging a mob attack on the US Capitol.

An unusually tame Trump, in a video he released on Twitter after a
temporary suspension, condemned rioters who rampaged in his name through a
congressional session that certified Biden’s victory, although he did not go
so far as to congratulate or even say the name of his successor.

“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” said Trump, in a
jarring shift of tone a day after a grievance-fueled outdoor rally in which
he encouraged thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol.

“We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high, but
now tempers must be cooled and calm restored,” said Trump, standing before a
lectern with the presidential seal.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns
to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” he said.

“Serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime,” Trump said,
without explicitly conceding and insisting he was “fighting to defend
American democracy.”

Trump’s turnaround came as aides including one cabinet member resigned and
the two top Democrats in Congress urged his immediate removal, fearing the
damage he can still inflict in his less than two weeks left in the world’s
most powerful job.

Biden, who won seven million votes more than Trump in the November 3
election as well as a decisive edge in the vital state-by-state Electoral
College, declined to address demands for Trump’s removal but accused him of
an “all-out assault on the institutions of our democracy.”

“Yesterday, in my view, was one of the darkest days in the history of our
nation,” Biden said at an event to introduce his nominee for attorney
general, respected judge Merrick Garland, who if confirmed will quickly need
to decide whether to prosecute Trump.

“They weren’t protesters,” Biden said. “They were a riotous mob,
insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.”

“I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming but that isn’t true,” Biden
said. “We could see it coming.”

“The past four years, we’ve had a president who’s made his contempt for our
democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has
done,” he said.

– Calls to remove Trump –

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged
Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows a
majority of the cabinet to remove a president deemed unable to discharge his
duties.

They threatened otherwise to impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time
in hopes that the Senate, where Democrats are projected to have won control
after runoff elections Tuesday in Georgia, will now oust him.

“This is an emergency of the highest magnitude,” Pelosi said, describing
Trump as a “very dangerous person.”

“By inciting sedition, as he did yesterday, he must be removed from
office,” she said. “While it’s only 13 days left, any day can be a horror
show for America.

Few Republicans came forward to back such remedies although Representative
Adam Kinzinger, a frequent Trump critic within his party, said it was time to
“end this nightmare” and also called for invoking the 25th Amendment, which
has been used previously when presidents undergo a surgical procedure.

“The president is unfit,” Kinzinger said. “And the president is unwell.”

Invoking the amendment would make Pence the acting president for the
remaining two weeks the administration has in office.

Speaking to CNN, retired Marine Corps general John Kelly, who served as
Trump’s chief of staff for 18 months, said the cabinet should consider the
25th Amendment but believed the president had been chastened.

“He can give all the orders he wants but no one is going to break the law,”
Kelly said.

Pence, loyally by Trump’s side until the final days, rejected Trump’s vocal
pressure to somehow intervene in Tuesday’s session, which has taken place
every four years for more than two centuries without drama.

In the middle of the night, after hours of delay due to the riots and Trump
loyalists’ contesting of the results, it was Pence who formally announced the
victory of Biden as the 46th president and Kamala Harris as the next vice
president.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Republican Senate
leader Mitch McConnell and is one of Trump’s longest-serving cabinet members,
announced she would resign over the “entirely avoidable” violence at the
Capitol.

Thursday evening Education Secretary Betsy DeVos became the second cabinet
member to quit, telling Trump in a letter that such “behavior was
unconscionable for our country.”

Others who resigned included Mick Mulvaney, a former Trump chief of staff
who is now US special envoy to Northern Ireland, and the deputy national
advisor, Matt Pottinger, an architect of Trump’s hawkish line on China.

– Scrutiny on security –

During the mayhem in Congress, security forces fired tear gas to drive out
the flag-waving crowds and police said a woman, reportedly a Trump supporter
from California, was shot by police and killed. Three other deaths were
reported on the Capitol grounds but the circumstances remained unclear.

Bipartisan anger was brewing over the failure of law enforcement to prevent
the mobs from entering Congress.

Steven Sund, the chief of the 2,300-strong Capitol Police, handed in his
resignation and lawmakers vowed a thorough investigation on security lapses.

Many questioned how police would have responded had the crowd been not
overwhelmingly white Trump supporters but Black anti-racism protesters, who
were met with force in nationwide demonstrations last year.

“True progress will be possible only once we acknowledge that this
disconnect exists and take steps to repair it,” said former first lady
Michelle Obama.

“And that also means coming to grips with the reality that millions voted
for a man so obviously willing to burn our democracy to the ground for his
own ego.”