The rapidly growing calls among Democrats to oust President Donald Trump either by his own cabinet taking action or by another impeachment is running quickly up against the limits of time and Republican Party politics.
Trump on Thursday appeared to be trying to quell the furor and head off any clamor for his ouster within the GOP. He released a video message in which he condemned the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters on Wednesday and said he was prepared for a smooth transition to President-elect Joe Biden.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20th,” Trump said. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power.”
The president has been besieged on all sides since supporters he inspired vandalized the Capitol and disrupted the House and Senate during the certification of the Electoral College vote. Some administration officials have resigned in protest and several senior Republicans in Congress said he bears responsibility for ginning up the mob and refusing for weeks after the election to acknowledge Biden’s victory.
Despite that, most Republicans haven’t expressed an appetite for another drawn out political battle with the combative president who has just 12 days before he leaves office.
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the lone Republican who voted to convict Trump in last year’s impeachment trial, pointed out that there’s little time for either an impeachment or what likely would be a drawn out battle over the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which provides for the removal of a president.
“I think we have to hold our breath,” he told reporters.
Trump’s encouragement of the mob in Washington prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday to call on Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment. They both said Trump could be impeached — again — if they don’t.
Pelosi and Schumer are channeling the genuine fear and anger among Democratic lawmakers that spans the party’s ideological spectrum from Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York to Stephanie Murphy of Florida, the co-chair of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats.
Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said the assault on the Capitol was so unprecedented that it is in the realm of possibility that House Democrats could proceed. Five people died in the episode, including a police officer and a woman who was shot by the police outside the House chamber.
The demands by both Pelosi and Schumer “indicates that for many, doing nothing is not an option,” he said, even though he does not expect enough Republican votes to reach the two-thirds required for an impeachment conviction.
On Thursday evening, Pelosi held a conference call with other top House Democratic leaders, and discussed various options tied to the 25th Amendment and impeachment, and she plans a caucus-wide conference call at noon Friday to discuss what to do, officials said.
A number of Democrats are joining the appeal to invoke the 25th Amendment. But that course, too, has legal and procedural hurdles that would make it difficult to carry out by Jan. 20.
One person familiar with her thinking said Pelosi, as of Thursday, night, had not determined a course of action. She and her advisers believe they have multiple options but that the outcome is unpredictable, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stayed mum on any next steps regarding Trump after ripping the futile effort by the president’s allies to undo the election that was part of the impetus for the mob to invade the Capitol.
McConnell is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who on Thursday resigned saying the attack on Congress “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Later on Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also resigned.
A top Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said at a news conference Thursday that the riots would “tarnish” the president’s legacy and, like many lawmakers in both parties, he thought what happened Wednesday could have been much worse. Still, he didn’t think action against Trump was warranted.
“I don’t support an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment now,” Graham said. “If something else happens, then all options would be on the table.”
Multiple groups of House Democrats, at the same time, were circulating impeachment articles charging Trump with inciting the riot and seeking to bar him from seeking office again.
Representative Jerry Nadler of New York said he supported bringing impeachment articles straight to the House floor for a vote given the limited time.
For Democratic leaders, there’s little risk in pressuring Trump’s cabinet and Pence, but impeachment would put the spotlight on Trump instead of on preparing for Biden’s incoming administration.
Anger and Fallout Fears
Nevertheless, many Democrats were pushing to do so anyway.
A former senior House aide who keeps in close contact with representatives and staff said that resolve to remove Trump grew over the hours lawmakers were kept behind locked doors to protect them from the intruders.
The former aide said impeachment could move forward regardless of whether Senate Republicans were on board. Pelosi and Schumer also may be trying to prod some GOP lawmakers who are sympathetic to the idea of getting Trump’s cabinet to remove him.
While Pelosi could call the House back to impeach Trump with a simple majority vote on the House floor, the Senate would be compelled to hold a trial presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Given that there are still millions of Trump supporters still on his side, the potential for massive political fallout for Republican senators who cross him might limit how quickly the chamber would act or how many of its members would vote to convict.
Representative Susie Lee, a Nevada Democrat, said Trump “deserves to be removed from office, whether by invoking the 25th Amendment, impeachment, or resignation.”
But she said in a statement that without broad, bipartisan support, the likelihood of forcing him out of office before Biden’s inauguration “is extremely low.”
“Especially after the political theater that consumed the Electoral College certification process in Congress,” Lee said, “we owe it to our constituents to be honest.”
— With assistance by Laura Litvan, Daniel Flatley, Erik Wasson, and Mike Dorning
GOLDSTEIN: If politicians want decency in politics, be decent – Toronto Sun
Article content continued
But that was then, this is now.
When politicians call for civility, I’m reminded of the saying, “don’t pee on our legs and tell us it’s raining.”
They sound like baseball owners complaining about overpaid baseball players.
Who do they expect to fix the problem?
If federal politicians were ever going to be moved toward simple decency, it would have happened when the late Liberal MP Arnold Chan appealed for civility in Parliament on June 12, 2017.
Dying of nasopharyngeal cancer, which would take his life three months later at the age of 50, Chan — by all accounts a good person who entered politics for the right reasons — used his farewell speech in the Commons to make an appeal for MPs to reach for their better angels.
“We can disagree strongly — in fact we should,” he said. “This is what democracy is about … When we listen, we listen to one another despite our strong differences, that’s when democracy really happens. That’s the challenge that’s going on in the world right now. No one is listening.”
Then Green Party leader Elizabeth May spoke warmly of a note Chan had sent to her when she was wrestling with a difficult political decision.
When he died, Conservative MP O’Toole, and Liberal cabinet minister Ahmed Hussen, were among his honorary pallbearers, reaching across the political divide.
Week In Politics: Trump Is Impeached Again – NPR
Ivanka’s political future comes into sharper focus – POLITICO
When Donald Trump incited a mob riot on Capitol Hill last week, he didn’t just complicate his own political future— he scrambled the political career arcs of his kids as well.
At least three Trump family members are either considering runs for office or being urged to do so, according to well-connected GOP operatives and Trump family allies.
Top party officials say that Lara Trump, wife of the president’s son Eric, is actively contemplating a run for the Senate in North Carolina, where an open seat awaits in 2022. “It’s real and she is legitimately interested in it,” said one Trump family political adviser.
The president’s eldest son, Don Jr., is eyeing a future in politics as well, though allies say it’s unclear when or what office he’d seek after he passed on running for the Senate in Wyoming this last cycle. He and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle have also been scoping out real estate in Florida.
The newest and most-buzzed about possibility, however, surrounds the president’s daughter Ivanka. The senior White House adviser is set to decamp to Florida after her father’s presidency comes to a close. And though talk of her launching a primary challenge to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has given off the faint whiff of political fan-fick, in reality, Trump officials say, there have been machinations behind the scenes.
One person in contact with the president said that Jared Kushner is viewed as “working single-mindedly to protect and promote his wife’s ‘political career.’” And two sources, including one top GOP fundraiser, said that Trump ally and mega donor Tom Barrack had been pressing fellow Republican financiers to put together some type of operation that could lure Ivanka into entering the race.
“He’s calling people and trying to line them up saying Rubio is terrible, worthless, he’s probably going to lose, Ivanka is going to go there and we should all get together and pledge our support to her and get her to run,” the GOP fundraiser said.
Tommy Davis, a Barrack spokesman, said no chatter of challenging Rubio ever took place.
“It’s not true. He’s never made any comments like this about Marco and he’s not making these calls,” said Davis. “Maybe people are getting confused because we did as much work as we could for the Senate Leadership Fund for the Georgia race. But that was before Christmas. But, no, nothing about Ivanka and nothing about Marco.”
And one person close to Trump said that Ivanka herself had denied having interest in running for office. But the president’s advisers are openly playing up her political potency.
“Ivanka only got into politics to help her father and help his agenda but what’s now clear is that Ivanka is a political powerhouse in her own right,” said Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump.
Others in Trumpworld say the signs are evident that Ivanka is leaving the door open to elected office. In late October, Ivanka, who had been registered as a Democrat in the past, gave an interview in which she declared herself “unapologetically pro-life.” One top Florida Republican who is close to the Trumps and Rubio noted that she not only upped her appearances on the campaign trail during the 2020 cycle — both for her father and the two Republicans in the Georgia Senate runoff — but passed out food at a food distribution event in Miami before Christmas.
“We’re taking the possibility seriously,” the Republican official said. “And so is Marco. And that’s a good thing. But you never know. She’s a Trump and the Trumps move on their own timetables.”
And, perhaps most tellingly, in the last week, Steve Bannon, as he was renewing his contacts with Trump himself, began talking up Ivanka’s political resume.
“The second most fire breathing populist in the White House was Ivanka Trump,” the president’s one-time adviser said on a recent podcast of his. If, Bannon added, Rubio voted for the certification of Joe Biden’s election — and he did — then, “I strongly believe and would strongly recommend that Ivanka Trump immediately…. if she is not going to remain an assistant to the president, she should immediately file and run for the senate and primary Marco Rubio in Florida.”
American politics has seen its share of family dynasties before. And though Donald Trump’s standing may have taken a hit by his handling of his election loss — which included inciting a riot that led to violence on Capitol Hill, his ouster from major social media platforms, resignations from his Cabinet, public disgust from party leaders and his second impeachment — public polling still shows that his name remains the most dominant in Republican circles. Virtually everyone expects that to transfer to his children.
“Their brand was certainly stained and it’s a stain we’ll never be able to erase,” said one top Republican strategist. “At the same time, the name of the game is winning a primary and someone with the last name of Trump could win.”
But running in theory is different from running in practice. In Florida, Rubio’s standing has been considered largely stable up to this point. The senator was trashed by hardcore Trump supporters for his vote that certified the Electoral College results. But those close to him said he was expecting far worse. They also point to his solid support in Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most-populous, where 74 percent of the GOP voters are Hispanic and overwhelmingly Cuban-American like Rubio.
“We have nothing bad to say about Ivanka,” said a Rubio adviser. “He’s going to run his race. I’m not sure she really wants to run? She just finished working in the White House and she has three small children — and now she’s going to move to Florida and run against Marco Rubio in a Republican primary?”
For that reason, the expectation among Trump allies and even establishment Republicans is that Ivanka will take her time considering a run while Lara jumps in. One Republican operative who worked with both Lara and Ivanka Trump in 2020 noted that Ivanka was less interested in the rallies and retail politics that come with running for office.
Ivanka Trump is expected to take some time off after leaving the White House, according to one former White House official, and she is currently working on closing out her work, including mitigating the fallout of the riots on Capitol Hill. After that, her family is expected to pack up their home in Washington.
A person close to Lara Trump, meanwhile, said that she has not made any decisions on entering the race in North Carolina, although consultants have been “poking around” for her in the state.
“For [Ivanka] to take on Marco or Florida she’s gotta be ready to rock and roll,” the operative said. “Whereas with Lara, I get the vibe she is ready to go.”
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