US President Donald Trump has dismissed the possibility of resigning from office in talks with advisers and angrily banned any comparisons to Richard Nixon, the last US president to step down, according to a Thursday report.
Trump exploded and cursed at an adviser who brought up Nixon and said that no more comparisons to the disgraced ex-president were allowed, CNN reported.
Trump also said he could not rely on Vice President Mike Pence to pardon him, as Gerald Ford did for Nixon, the report said.
The president has come to terms with having to leave office, even if he has not acknowledged defeat, and plans to depart the White House on the morning of January 20, the day of US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Trump has said he will not attend the ceremony and has not decided if he will leave a letter for Biden in the Oval Office, CNN reported. Both actions are traditionally carried out by departing presidents as part of the peaceful transfer of power between administrations.
Trump is grappling with the fallout from the riot he incited in Washington last week by egging on a huge crowd of supporters to march against Congress. The mob rampaged through the Capitol building, leaving five people dead.
He was charged in the House of Representatives Wednesday for inciting insurrection, becoming the first US president to be impeached twice.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Trump had planned to join his followers on their march to the Capitol but decided not to after Secret Service agents warned him multiple times they could not keep him safe if he went.
The president has watched some of the impeachment proceedings on TV and been angered by the Republicans who have come out in favor of the move, Reuters reported.
Trump is fearful of legal exposure after departing from office and is focused on issuing pardons before his term ends, including possibly for himself, the report said.
In addition to impeachment, Trump has been stripped of his social media platforms, been abandoned by senior aides and cabinet members and seen significant business fallout from the Capitol riot, including backlash from leading corporations, the PGA golf tour and New York City.
Trump’s impeachment trial could begin on Inauguration Day, depending on when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate. Democrats hoping to avoid interrupting Biden’s inauguration have suggested holding back until the new president has a chance to get his administration going.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is open to considering impeachment, having told associates he is done with Trump, but he has not signaled how he would vote.
Biden has said the Senate should be able to split its time and do both — hold the trial and start working on his priorities.
Ten Republicans in the House fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Biden’s inauguration. The 232-197 vote for impeachment was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in modern times, more so than against Bill Clinton in 1998.
Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit.
No president has been convicted by the Senate, but Republicans have said that could change in the rapidly shifting political environment as officeholders, donors, big business and others peel away from the defeated president. Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate.