“There will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Donald Trump announced in a statement on Thursday morning. It was the denial of his position before the presidential election, in which he expressly did not want to guarantee a peaceful transition phase in the event of his defeat.
But anyone who has heard Trump speak only once knows that his word is not worth a penny. In addition, this announcement raises more questions than it clarifies after the failed uprising of its supporters. Large parts of the US are worried: How will Trump behave in the remaining 13 days of his term in office?
And what his words count if, as in his most recent statement, he still doubts the election result and thus further stimulates his fans. “It is only the beginning of our fight to make America great again,” explains Trump on the morning of January 6, 2021. That sounds like a threat.
But how can Trump be stopped from plunging the country into an even deeper crisis than he has so far? Insiders in the White House describe Trump’s behavior these days as “beyond good and evil”. As if delusional, Trump is apparently talking about nothing other than the election result, i.e. his defeat.
The potential for anger is great for a man who always thinks in terms of victory and defeat. Since the night of Thursday, since the certification of the election result under the chairmanship of Vice President Mike Pence, Trump has been declared by Congress loser. The fear is that Trump will therefore continue to incite violence, incite his loyal supporters again. The march of the right-wing mob on Wednesday after Trump’s rally has already resulted in four deaths.
Washington is now debating ways and means to get Trump out of the White House before January 20. Several cabinet members are apparently considering using the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution to remove Trump from office.
According to that amendment, the president can be removed from office by the vice-president and a majority of the cabinet or by the vice-president and a body appointed by the congress if they find that he is “unable to perform the powers and duties of his office”.
But how realistic is that? Vice President Pence is a loyal servant to his master. He fulfilled his duties on Wednesday by certifying the election results. No more and no less. Pence condemned the “violence” around the Capitol. However, he did not criticize the words with which the president had encouraged his supporters to engage in violence. One shouldn’t think of pence as a hero.
Little is heard from other cabinet members either. Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo, who calls for democracy and the end of tyranny in other countries, remains silent. Attorney General Bill Barr had thrown on December 23rd. At best, warm words come from the incumbent successor Jeffrey Rosen. The storming of the Capitol was “intolerable”. Ah yes.
Who should depose Trump?
It would be a miracle if Trump’s hand-picked cabinet ousted the president. The mouth heroism in Washington is pronounced. One should not overestimate the resignation of Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff, on Thursday. Mulvaney only had one diplomatic post anyway, was Northern Ireland Commissioner – a part-time job. With the future Secretary of State Anthony Blinken he would have got rid of the post anyway. For him, it’s more about preserving what remains of his reputation.
According to media reports, the National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien, his deputy Matthew Pottinger and Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell are also considering resignations. Two advisors resigned on First Lady Melania Trump’s staff. But what does it matter when such people have to look for a new job with the change of government?
Just a few hours after the Capitol was stormed, there was talk of impeachment proceedings again – a good year after the first attempt had terribly failed. The Democratic Congressman Ilhan Omar said she was already working on indictment articles. The Democrats want a new impeachment process unless Pence and the Cabinet immediately release Trump from his presidency. Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democrats in the Senate, announced a corresponding initiative on Thursday.
In this case, all Republican senators and MPs would have to admit: Do they want to hold on to the autocrat Trump – or get rid of him? A simple majority in Congress is sufficient for impeachment. The Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, in the Senate it has been 50:50 since the runoff elections in Georgia. The last impeachment process in 2020 was supported by the Republican Mitt Romney, but failed because of the Republican Senate majority at the time.
Don’t overestimate headwinds
Much now depends on the question: How will Pence behave? So far, like most Republicans, he has been holding back – even if he has certified the election result. The – outgoing – Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has clearly denied the “electoral fraud” slogans.
But even after the Capitol was stormed, various senators and dozens of MPs in the House of Representatives held on to their objections to the election results in Pennsylvania. In doing so, they underpinned Trump’s crude, insubstantial theses (“I have won”).
Trump holed up on Wednesday after his stimulating speech at the rally in Ellipse Park in the White House, surrounded by the most loyal of the loyal. Advisors suggested he give Fox News an interview, writes the Washington Post. Trump refused. The outgoing president was pissed off at Pence, it was said in his environment. A close advisor spoke of a “bunker mentality”.
In the inner circle of Trump there is silence for many hours after the appearance of the brutal mob. The first lady, daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law and “chief advisor” Jared Kushner – all remained silent. Trump’s son Donald Trump junior, otherwise a hardworking twitterer, only said after the violence that it was “wrong”.
His appeal to the right-wing radical mob shows his own delusion: “Don’t act like the other side.” Eric Trump claimed: “We are the party of law and order.” It is now up to the Republican Party to clarify whether it is still the party Donald Trumps wants to be.