Trump remains provocative amid calls to quit

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WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump enters the final days of his presidency in isolation and shunned by former allies and members of his own party as he faces a second indictment and growing calls for his resignation after that his supporters launched an assault on the United States Capitol in an effort to halt the peaceful transfer of power.
Cut off from the social media channels that have been the cornerstone of his presidency, Trump will nonetheless try to take offense in his last 10 days, with no intention of resigning.

Instead, Trump plans to go after companies that have now denied him his Twitter and Facebook butts. And aides hope he will spend his final days trying to proclaim his political achievements, starting with a trip to Alamo, Texas on Tuesday to highlight his administration’s efforts to curb illegal immigration and the building of border walls. .

Trump’s decision to go to Alamo – named for the San Antonio mission where a small group of Texans fighting for independence against the Mexican government were defeated after a 13-day siege – served as a symbol of his challenge facing the most unstable. end of any presidency in modern history.

Trump took no responsibility for his role in Wednesday’s incitement to violence amid a rebellion by members of his own party and ongoing efforts to remove him from office. A second Republican Senator, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, called for Trump’s resignation on Sunday after Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told the Anchorage Daily News, “I want him out. ”

It was a stunning reversal for a man who had once been seen as his party’s top nomination contestant in 2024 and who could now be deprived of his ability to run for a second term.

A new ABC News / Ipsos poll released on Sunday found that more than half of Americans – 56% – believe Trump should be removed from office before his term ends. And two-thirds of those polled – 67% – said he deserved “a fair amount” or “a lot” of blame for the riots last week.

Trump had delivered a speech to his supporters in which he repeatedly said the election was stolen and urged them to “fight” before rushing to the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying Biden’s victories. The violent mob stormed inside, ransacked the building and sent terrified staff and lawmakers, including the vice president, to hide. Five, including a Capitol officer, died.

Struck by the violent insurgency and images of MAGA worshipers searching for them in the halls of the Capitol, House Democrats quickly committed to a second impeachment this week, though Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said that a trial in his bedroom wouldn’t begin until Biden took office. .

While those close to Trump have said they would certainly prefer he did not become the only president in the country’s history to be impeached a second time, Jason Miller, a close adviser, noted that Trump’s popularity had increased after his first impeachment trial. And he argued that, if they moved forward, Democrats risked turning public sentiment against them and hampering Biden’s agenda by continuing to focus on Trump even after he left the White House.

“As I told the President this morning, never overlook the ability of the National Democrats to galvanize the Republican base behind you,” Miller said, arguing that if “the National Democrats were to go down that road, I think that it would boomerang over them very seriously. ”

“Joe Biden does not want to spend the first 100 days of his presidency being responsible for a vindictive and excessive impeachment trial,” he added.

Concerns continued to bubble throughout the weekend about how Trump, who thrives on chaos and attention, might respond. Wednesday’s episode was at the heart of the nation’s self-identity – that of a stable and functioning republic – sparking introspection in Washington and around the world.

But Trump, who once rejoiced at how quickly missives he typed on his smartphone would land like “BREAKING NEWS” chyrons on cable news networks, did not express contrition and was instead consumed. out of anger. Trump has been described as apoplectic following the loss of his Twitter platform and now has no outlet to release that anger.

And he remains surrounded by an ever-shrinking aide coterie as more and more consider early departures and rampage against others, including Pence, who had spent the past four years as than his most loyal soldier.

The two have not spoken since Wednesday when Pence informed Trump that he would not agree to Trump’s unconstitutional plan to expel legal voters in his attempt to annul the election. Pence never had that power in the first place, but that didn’t stop Trump from insisting that he was, both publicly and privately, making Pence a scapegoat who could be blamed. for Trump’s defeat.

Pence’s allies are now furious over the president, who they say not only defeated him, but took his life – and that of his wife, daughter and brother, who were with him on Capitol Hill. – in physical danger. After repeatedly claiming that Pence could unilaterally reverse the election result at Wednesday’s rally, Trump then tweeted that Pence lacked the courage “to do what should have been done to protect our country” while the siege was in course and never bothered to check on Pence’s safety, according to a person close to Pence.

Still, there is no indication that Pence is seriously considering invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, as calls continue for him to make that move. However, aides haven’t explicitly ruled it out, keeping the option on the table in case Trump takes other steps that may warrant discussion.

“What I’ve heard from my fellow Republicans is that they’ve had enough,” said former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime friend and informal adviser. He told ABC’s “This Week” that he viewed Trump’s conduct as grounds for impeachment, saying, “If incitement to insurgency isn’t, then I don’t really know what it is. East ”

Christie also slammed Trump for refusing to reduce the White House flags to half the staff in honor of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Hill police officer who died of injuries sustained while trying to ward off the crowd moved, calling it a “national disgrace”.

Hours later, the White House quietly lowered the flags, although Trump has still offered no public comment on the officer’s death.

Meanwhile, Trump has been largely absent from his presidential office since losing the election, consumed instead by grassroots conspiracies on mass electoral fraud that his own government has rejected, even as the pandemic continues. of coronavirus is getting more and more out of control.

While his legacy will surely be forever stained by Wednesday’s violence, aides nonetheless urge Trump to spend his final days announcing his political achievements. Events are underway throughout the week to highlight his administration’s efforts to strengthen peace in the Middle East, roll back regulations, support jobs and manufacturing, and reduce China’s power, though such efforts were rejected.

While it’s not clear if such an action would have any practical impact, Trump is also considering potential executive action as he steps up his war on big tech after being banned by Twitter and Facebook and as Amazon decides to shut down platforms like the conservative favorite Speak in the Middle. concerns about possible future violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

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Associated Press editors Zeke Miller and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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