President Donald Trump yesterday faced a stirring revolt from the United States political establishment after he incited a mob to assault the Capitol, as part of his agenda to steal victory from President-elect Joe Biden.
There is a growing bipartisan clamour in the legislature for Trump to be declared unfit for office and for his forcible removal.
The mob, who are now being dubbed domestic terrorists, marched on the Capitol after the president had addressed them, with a vow to join them to stop the certification of Biden’s win in the November 2020 election.
The insurrection disrupted the certification process as the lawmakers were ferried out of the building as the Trump supporters smashed windows and doors to access and desecrated the inner recess of the legislative building.
Already the security agencies have identified some of the mob, who belong to extreme groups, and are seeking to question them.
The Congress, however, surmounted the challenge and resumed the process after the National Guards and the police had cleared off the mob, leading to the ratification of Biden’s victory.
Biden delivered a stinging rebuke yesterday of Trump, attributing the “unprecedented assault” on American democracy to the president’s “contempt for democracy.”
Congress Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, at a news conference, threatened that if Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet failed to invoke the 25th Amendment to sack Trump, the lawmakers would be left with no choice but to impeach the president and remove him from office.
The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1965 after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, allows for the president to be removed in the event of incapacitation. However, it’s a tall order because it requires both Pence and a majority of cabinet members to vote to remove the president who appointed them. If Trump disputes his removal to Congress, both chambers would have to vote by two-thirds to remove him.
It was learnt that there is a growing concern about the danger Trump could pose to governance and democracy within the remaining 13 days to the end of his tenure.
So far, no fewer than 37 Congressmen have indicated interest in the impeachment bid.
The impeachment article, whose lead sponsor is Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, accused Trump of committing “high crimes and misdemeanours.”
In the article of impeachment shared via her Twitter handle, Omar said Trump will continue to endanger US democracy if he remains in office.
“Once again, Trump has violated constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” the article reads.
“Every single hour that Donald Trump remains in office our country, our democracy, and our national security remain in danger. Congress must take immediate action to keep the people of this country safe and set a precedent that such behaviour cannot be tolerated.
“Articles of Impeachment for introduction, so proud of everyone co-leading this effort with us. We need to move quickly to remove this President from office,” she added.
A total of 12 lawmakers were earlier listed as co-leads in the article.
However, in a subsequent tweet, Ilhan listed 24 additional lawmakers as co-sponsors, bringing the total number of lawmakers who are involved in the impeachment move to 37.
Pelosi Urges Pence to Invoke 25th Amendment
Pelosi has urged Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
“Trump has committed an assault on our nation and our people. Pence must remove him and invoke the 25th Amendment. If they fail to act, we may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. Justice will be done to those who carry out these actions of sedition and cowardice,” Pelosi said in an address yesterday.
Similarly, Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer, has also called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove the president.
“What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer said in the statement.
Biden Rebukes Trump
President-elect, Joe Biden, at a press conference yesterday to introduce his pick for attorney-general, Merrick Garland, condemned the “unprecedented assault” on American democracy yesterday, saying the event was very predictable, given Trump’s attacks on the hallmarks of democracy, such as his criticism of the free press.
Biden described the Capitol rioters as ‘domestic terrorists’
He lamented that the attack on the Capitol represented “one of the darkest days in the history of our nation.”
“It was not dissent. It was not disorder. It was not protest. Don’t call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists,” he stated.
Trump’s Appointees Resign over Insurrection
Trump also battled an internal revolt in his administration yesterday as some of his appointees resigned over his roles in the assault on the Capitol.
Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, sent a notice to her colleagues that she was resigning from Trump’s cabinet, effective Monday, following the violence at the Capitol.
In a statement, Chao lamented the “traumatic and entirely avoidable event” of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol.
“It has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside,” Chao said.
The announcement makes Chao the first cabinet secretary to resign following the insurrection.
Some senior figures were also weighing resignations or have already stepped down, including Trump’s deputy national security adviser, Matt Pottinger, who resigned Wednesday.
On Wednesday, in addition to Pottinger, the first lady’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, a press aide and the White House social secretary all resigned.
Yesterday, a senior administration official confirmed that John Costello, the Commerce Department’s deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and security, resigned from his post. Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian Affairs, also resigned from the National Security Council, a White House official confirmed. And Tyler Goodspeed, the acting chairman of the Counsel of Economic Advisers at the White House, submitted his resignation Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Also, the US Capitol Police Chief, Steven Sund, has served a notice of resignation following criticism over an apparent lack of preparedness to deal with Wednesday’s violent mob on Capitol Hill.
Sund’s resignation is effective January 16, according to a Capitol Police official.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier yesterday had called for the resignation of the Sund and said the House Sergeant-at-Arms had told her he was resigning too.
Trump Finally Agrees to Hand over to Biden
Trump, however, has finally committed himself to peaceful transition of power from his administration to Biden after the Congress had ratified the president-elect’s electoral victory.
Trump, in a statement earlier yesterday after the ratification of the Electoral College votes, had come close to admitting that he has lost his bid to be re-elected for the second term.
Trump said in the statement: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted.
“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to ‘Make America Great Again.’”
World Leaders React
Former Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has told Trump that his ambition is not worth the blood of any American citizen.
Jonathan’s reaction came a day after pro-Trump supporters carried out an insurrection that was meant to disrupt the ratification of Biden’s victory by the American congress.
Jonathan, who conceded defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 presidential election, condemned gaining power at the expense of peace and advised Trump to allow peace to prevail.
He said: “I have repeatedly said nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen, in any part of the world. Absolutely nobody!
“Again, I reiterate that it is better to lose power at the cost of gaining peace, than to gain power at the price of losing the peace. As a leader, one must not just look unto one’s own interest, but the interest and the good of society. It is never too late to reject the venom and inject the serum of peace”.
“It is necessary to state that the highest purpose of leadership is to bring people together, even those that do not share in your philosophy. And you do not need an office to do that.”
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr. Boris Johnson, described the mob attack on the US Capitol Hill as disgraceful.
Boris wrote on his Twitter handle: “Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power” in that country.
Nigeria’s former Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, also described the assault on the Capitol as an attempt to derail the democratic political process and set aside the peoples’ will in the November 2020 presidential election.
According to him, the insurrection is a global threat to democracy, just as he called on the federal government to issue a statement on the incident.
Akinyemi stated that a statement by Nigeria is important because “a threat to democracy in the USA is a threat to democracy all over the world,” adding that the statement should neither be sarcastic nor condemnatory of America, but should emphasise Nigeria’s commitment in the struggle to entrench democracy.
He spoke when he appeared on the Morning Show on Arise News.
He described the insurrection as treason, adding that “it is shame on the United States. But it is also a danger to democracy and that is why we are here in Nigeria talking about it. Under normal circumstances what would have been our business but to say ‘let them face what they have created.’”
Akinyemi also noted that the leadership of the Republican Party has a share in the blame of what happened on Wednesday.
He said: “The pillars of the Republican Party were complicit in what Trump has visited on the United States. They didn’t stand up to him. They lacked courage. They were not thinking of the United States. Where are the men of valour? Where are men strong enough to stand up to this man (Trump)?”
Facebook, Instagram Bans Trump
The Co-Founder of Facebook, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, has said that Trump is banned from Facebook and Instagram till the end of his tenure on January 20, 2020.
Zuckerberg said while reacting to the violence perpetrated at the Capitol by Trump supporters, explained that for years Facebook and Instagram had allowed Trump to use the platform to say all sorts of things and added that the time has come to implement desperate measures against him because it has become obvious that Trump was instigating violence.