There is considerable debate over whether President Trump should be removed via the 25th Amendment or Impeached. There is a risk of getting lost in the weeds on this issue; let me clarify for some who are uncertain. He should be. This is why:
President Trump incited action against the United States in favor of a revolution. This is not an extrapolation; this argument cannot be made of prior Presidents, even as they may have exhorted components of the populace to take actions that others might disagree with. President Reagan addressing a pro-life rally and saying they needed to change American minds was not calling for an overthrow of the government, even if there were a handful of radicals in the crowd who might have preferred a theocracy. President Obama encouraging Black Lives Matter marches was not calling for an overthrow of the government, even if there were some radicals in the group who might prefer a socialist worker’s paradise. These were people arguing for a political position. Presidents are expected to do that even as they are expected to fulfill their duties as the leader of all citizens. Promoting a political stance invariably evokes outrage from those who hold contrary positions, but it’s not a particularly difficult balancing act.
The stated desire of the people called to the rally this week was to undermine the rule of law, to overturn an election and install Trump for a second term – and, if history is any indicator, third and fourth and fifth term until the date of his passing, to be followed by Jr. or Ivanka term. The fact that many are too stuck in Wonderland to recognize that was what they were doing is irrelevant to whether they should be punished, and it is especially irrelevant to the matter of removing Trump because the President, in particular, knew exactly what they were there for.
In Trump’s mind, he is the dominant race horse; he cannot lose. Therefore his loss was false, despite all evidence. They were there to keep him in power. He called for them to mass, he suggested violence might follow, and he rallied them beforehand. For the first time in many months, he displayed all of the properties of a leader… but only to self-styled revolutionaries.
Decisions on whether he should be removed right now are being influenced politically. He’s only in position for two more weeks, is it worth the optics of having him removed and the friction it might cause? If he’s not removed, on the other hand, will he incite further violence on the 19th and the 20th? What about the nuclear codes? What if he releases state secrets? Is there a racial component to this, because of the treatment of Black Lives Matter?
I don’t think the nuclear codes matter right now because launching nukes isn’t as simple as pushing a single button, and I believe that, right now, there are career military officers who would happily take a court martial rather than follow through on launching nukes under the order of Trump. (And, personally, I also believe that that situation… where the military would reasonably debate whether to follow the Commander in Chief’s orders, is an excellent indicator that the 25th Amendment should be used.) I believe that violence may ensue on the 19th or 20th in his behalf whether or not he says or does anything else; he’s already lit that fuse. I believe he’s going to be an ongoing danger of providing confidential information to our enemies in exchange for cash or favors for as long as he’s not in jail, and even if charges are brought against him on the day he leaves office that will still provide a window for him to do grave damage… and it also leaves open the possibility that his kids or people like Roger Stone might do the same, all of whom can be reasonably expected to have been provided with most of the same top secret intel. And even though some of the people breaking security and cramming into the offices of Representatives are white supremacists… there were white supremacists working at gas stations and supermarkets in Oregon and Maryland, too, who didn’t travel to D.C. to participate in the insurrection. White supremacy isn’t a crime any more than black dominance is, they’re merely indicators of stunted worldviews and ignorance.
Those are the weeds. They are interesting and spark debate, but they are irrelevant. Trump fomented an insurrection against the United States. Every participant who broke the law should be punished for that. In the case of trespassers, that means citing every person who stepped a single foot out of bounds; these people insist that they’re law & order patriots, they can demonstrate their commitment to the law by taking the delegated punishment, whether they are CEO of a company or a meth-head living in someone’s trailer. In the case of those who participated in damaging activity, that means culpability for that damage. In the case of the President who incited it, that means immediate removal from office and criminal charges for his actions.