Thursday, January 07, 2021
First US Secretary to leave Trump team
Two weeks before the end of Trump’s term in office, close advisors begin to pull out of their office. Some point to the previous day’s riots and the president’s reaction to it.
After the massive riots of fanatical supporters of the elected US President Donald Trump in Washington, several of his employees take their hats and leave their posts. While some justify their decisions directly with the violent incidents the day before, others remain tight-lipped. The fact is, however, that many of them would have lost their posts in a few weeks with the formal end of Trump’s term in office.
The most prominent member of the resigned team to date has been Minister of Transport Elaine Chao. The storming of the Capitol after a speech by the president was “a traumatic and absolutely avoidable event,” she said. “It upset me deeply and in a way that I just can’t ignore.” Chao is married to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. He had clearly distanced himself from Trump at the congressional session to confirm the election victory of Joe Biden.
The ranks of those who are now leaving their posts also include the US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland and former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. “I can’t stay here, not after yesterday,” he told CNBC. He had informed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of his resignation.
Trump’s leading advisor on Russia policy, Ryan Tully, has also resigned, according to government circles. Further resignations by members of the National Security Council are to be expected, said an insider. And a little later, Trump’s Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger followed the White House, as several media reported. The deputy national security advisor Matt Pottinger and the spokeswoman for the first lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, had previously resigned.
“Those who stay, and I have spoken to some, are only doing so because they fear that the president might replace them with someone worse,” Mulvaney said. The special envoy had himself been deposed as chief of staff by Trump because he admitted in October that military aid to Ukraine had been frozen on the orders of the president.
The day before, thousands of Trump supporters forcibly entered the Capitol in Washington and had temporarily suspended a joint Senate-House meeting to confirm the election of Trump’s successor, Joe Biden. A woman was shot dead by the police during the riot.
Trump has not yet condemned the riots. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, was denied access to the White House, according to media reports. It was apparently an act of revenge because Pence opposed Trump’s request and officially recognized Joe Biden’s election victory in Congress.
Trump had repeatedly called on his supporters to protests in recent weeks. His successor accused him of obstructing the transfer of office. Biden is due to be sworn in as the 46th US President on January 20.