search

Second Republican senator now urges Trump to resign over Capitol riot

Pat Toomey joins Lisa Murkowski in calling for US president to step down, as Democratic House Speaker Pelosi notifies colleagues to prepare for impeachment move this week

Sen. Pat Toomey, Republican-Pennsylvania, on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 10, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via AP)
Sen. Pat Toomey, Republican-Pennsylvania, on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 10, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Republican senators now say US President Donald Trump should resign as support for the drive to impeach him a second time is gaining momentum in his final days in office after the deadly riot at the Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters.

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Sunday joined Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump to “resign and go away as soon as possible.” Murkowski, who has long voiced her exasperation with Trump’s conduct in office, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that Trump simply “needs to get out.”

Toomey said that even though he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses in encouraging loyalists in the Capitol siege on Wednesday, he did not think there was enough time for the impeachment process to play out. Toomey said that resignation was the “best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rearview mirror for us.” He was not optimistic that Trump would step down before his term ends on January 20.

The White House had no immediate comment Sunday.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican-Alaska, at the Capitol in Washington, October 26, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The House appears determined to act despite the short timeline.

Late Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat of California, sent a letter to her colleagues reiterating that Trump must be held accountable. She told her caucus, now scattered across the country on a two-week recess, to “be prepared to return to Washington this week.”

“It is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable,” Pelosi wrote. “There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the President.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat-California, holds a news conference on the day after violent protesters loyal to US President Donald Trump stormed the US Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, January 7, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said “it may be Tuesday, Wednesday before the action is taken, but I think it will be taken this week.” Clyburn, Democrat-South Carolina, said he was concerned that a Senate trial could distract from the process of confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s nominees.

Clyburn said one option could be giving Biden the “100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running and maybe we’ll send the articles sometime after that” to the Senate for a trial.

He said lawmakers “will take the vote that we should take in the House” and that Pelosi “will make the determination as when is the best time” to send them to the Senate.

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has said an impeachment trial could begin as early as Inauguration Day, January 20.

Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn-South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, November 3, 2020. (AP)

The new Democratic effort to stamp Trump’s presidential record — for the second time and days before his term ends — with the indelible mark of impeachment is gaining supporters. Rep. David Cicilline, Democrat Rhode Island, a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles — or charges — accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, said Saturday that his group had grown to include 185 co-sponsors.

Lawmakers planned to formally introduce the proposal on Monday in the House, where articles of impeachment must originate.

The articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors who would ultimately vote on whether to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president.

Potentially complicating that decision about impeachment is what it means for Biden and the beginning of his presidency. While reiterating that he has long viewed Trump as unfit for office, Biden on Friday sidestepped a question about impeachment, saying what Congress does “is for them to decide.”

A pro-Trump mob breaks into the US Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP

A violent and largely white mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.

The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.

Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the siege.

Outrage over the attack and Trump’s role in egging it on capped a divisive, chaotic presidency like few others in the nation’s history. There is less than two weeks until Trump is out of office but Democrats have made clear they don’t want to wait that long.

Trump has few fellow Republicans speaking out in his defense. He’s become increasingly isolated, holed up in the White House as he has been abandoned in the aftermath of the riot by many aides, leading Republicans, and, so far, two Cabinet members — both women.

Toomey appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Clyburn was on “Fox News Sunday” and CNN.

read more:
comments