Some congressional Republicans are urging President Donald Trump to leave office early of his own volition as Democrats prepare articles of impeachment for the second time in Trump’s tenure.
“I think the best way for our country … is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on Sunday in an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” joining Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in calling for the president’s resignation.
Toomey, who isn’t seeking reelection in 2022, acknowledged that Trump’s resignation “may not be likely” but reiterated “that would be best” after the president incited a deadly insurrection against the Capitol last week after falsely claiming for months that the election was stolen from him.
Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden in the Electoral College, 306 to 232, and trailed him by more than 7 million votes in the national popular vote. Every state — and Congress itself — certified the results of the presidential election, and Trump himself finally conceded last week that “a new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.”
Fifty-six percent of Americans said they believe Trump should be removed from office before his term expires, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday, with 67 percent of respondents saying Trump deserves a “good amount” or “great deal” of blame for the attack on the Capitol.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that impeachment articles could be completed Monday, though they might not reach the floor of the House until Tuesday.
In a two-hour call on Saturday, POLITICO reported, Clyburn and other Democratic leaders raised concerns that an impeachment trial in the Senate could slow confirmation of Biden’s Cabinet nominees and stall Congress’ ability to quickly pass a major coronavirus relief package.
In the interview on Sunday, Clyburn called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who circulated a memo last week outlining Jan. 19 as the earliest date an impeachment trial could begin — “a pretty good legislator” who’s “doing what he thinks he needs to do to be disruptive,” but insisted that “Nancy Pelosi is smarter than that.”
Clyburn suggested the House could give Biden 100 days to enact his agenda before sending the articles to the Senate. In a separate interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Clyburn reminded host Chris Wallace that the House didn’t send impeachment articles across the Capitol immediately the first time it voted to impeach Trump.
“They were not delivered the next day,” Clyburn said. “They were delivered at a time that was most appropriate, and so we’ll do the same thing in this instance.”
On CNN, Toomey said Trump “did commit impeachable offenses” but raised questions about whether the Constitution permitted the Senate to convict a president who has left office. He also hinted that Trump could be held criminally liable for his role in Wednesday’s violence.
“I think the president has disqualified himself from ever certainly serving in office again,” Toomey said. “I don’t think he is electable in any way, and I don’t think he’s going to be exercising anything like the kind of influence that he has had over the Republican Party going forward.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) framed impeachment as an unwise move but signaled he would “vote the right way” if Democrats moved forward with the process.
“The best thing for the country to heal would be for him to resign,” he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “The next best thing is the 25th Amendment.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called Trump a “clear and present danger” to Congress and the country “every minute and every hour that he is in office.”
“But in addition to removal, we’re also talking about complete barring of the president, or rather of Donald Trump, from running for office ever again,” she told “This Week.” “And in addition to that, the potential ability to prevent pardoning himself from those charges that he was impeached for.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) argued that there were only two paths ahead to determine Trump’s fate: a political path and a judicial path.
“I would think that [the judicial path] would be a better position to take and that’d be a better route to go versus taking a political route,” Manchin said on CNN, noting that impeachment “basically stops us from putting a government together.”
The increasing calls for Trump’s removal come as allies continue to abandon the commander in chief in the final days of his presidency. Trump has lost Cabinet and other administration officials, in addition to his ability to tweet and post on several other social media platforms.
Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said fellow Republicans have told him “they’ve had enough.”
“If inciting insurrection isn’t” impeachable, Christie said, “then I don’t really know what is.”
Several Republicans, publicly and privately, have expressed support for Trump’s removal, said Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
“This long national nightmare needs to end,” Jeffries told “Meet the Press.”
He said the chamber was “focused on [Trump’s] immediate removal,” which can come one of three ways: Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet can invoke the 25th Amendment, Congress can vote to impeach and convict the president, “or the Republican enablers who are around Donald Trump can demand that he resign.”