Trump’s top national security officials and a deputy White House chief of staff are considering resigning over the president’s alleged encouragement of violence leading to the storming of the Capitol, Bloomberg has reported, citing anonymous sources said to be familiar with the deliberations.
The list of people considering quitting reportedly include Trump National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and his deputy, Matt Pottinger. Chris Liddell, deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, is also thinking about leaving, Bloomberg’s sources say.
The report follows a flurry of lower level resignations Wednesday, including by First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta and White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews.
Multiple Trump administration officials have criticised the president for Wednesday’s unrest, accusing him of encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol. Trump’s decision to gather supporters in Washington, DC for a “Save America”/“Stop the Steal” rally ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Congressional certification of Electoral College votes has also been criticised.
Gabriel Noronha, the State Department’s Iran communications director, blasted Trump on Twitter, accusing him of fomenting “an insurrectionist mob that attacked the Capitol” and trying “to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power”.
President Trump fomented an insurrectionist mob that attacked the Capitol today. He continues to take every opportunity to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power. These actions threaten our democracy and our Republic. Trump is entirely unfit to remain in office, and needs to go.— Gabriel Noronha (@GLNoronha) January 7, 2021
O’Brien praised Vice President Mike Pence late Wednesday for ignoring calls by Trump to refuse to “reject fraudulently chosen electors” for Joe Biden, saying it reminded him of Pence’s time as a senator during the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
I just spoke with Vice President Pence. He is a genuinely fine and decent man. He exhibited courage today as he did at the Capitol on 9/11 as a Congressman. I am proud to serve with him.— Robert C. O'Brien (@robertcobrien) January 6, 2021
In a related development, NBC News has reported that Trump had barred Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short from entering the White House, ostensibly over the vice president’s refusal to challenge the results.
Early Thursday morning, Trump announced that that while he “totally” disagreed with the outcome of the election, there “will be an orderly transition on January 20th”. The announcement came after Congress formally certified Biden’s victory, with over a dozen senators in the 100 Seat Senate, and about 100 members of the 435 seat House of Representative objecting. The emergency certification came after the procedure was interrupted by protesters storming the Capitol.
As the situation outside the Capitol descended into violence, Trump called on his supporters to “stay peaceful” and to “remember” that “WE are the Party of Law and Order.” His detractors nevertheless accused him of fuelling violence, and his accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been temporarily suspended.
Biden said events in the capital were an indication that “our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” and suggested that the protesters’ deeds “border on sedition.”
The 3 November election and allegations of voter fraud have left Americans bitterly divided. Last month, a poll commissioned by NPR and PBS Newshour found that just 24 percent of Republicans accept the results, with 28 percent of independents also distrustful of the official outcome.