US diplomats launch extraordinary protest against Trump over riot on Capitol Hill

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Police officers from the U.S. Capitol repel protesters who attempted to enter the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington. U.S. diplomats wrote two cables condemning President Donald Trump’s incitement to murderous assault on Capitol Hill.

Jose Luis Magana / The Associated Press

In a highly unusual move, US diplomats drafted two cables condemning President Donald Trump’s incitement to the deadly attack on Capitol Hill and calling on administration officials to possibly support the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. its functions.

Using what is known as the State Department’s “dissent channel”, career foreign and civil service officers have said they feared the siege last Wednesday would seriously undermine the credibility of government officials. United States to promote and defend democratic values ​​abroad.

“Failure to publicly hold the president accountable for his actions would further damage our democracy and our ability to effectively achieve our foreign policy goals abroad,” according to the second of two cables, which were broadcast among diplomats at the end of last week, then sent to the State Department direction.

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The cable called on Pompeo to support any legal effort by Vice President Mike Pence and other Cabinet members to protect the country, including through “the possible implementation of Article 4 procedures of the 25th Amendment, the optionally”. The amendment allows the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to declare a president unfit for office, and the vice president then becomes acting president.

The cables were an extraordinary protest against a sitting US president by US diplomats, who have long complained that the Trump administration ignored and diminished their role and expertise. The dissent channel is normally used to oppose specific foreign policy decisions. The two most recent cables appear to be unprecedented in their reach and characterization of the president as a danger to the country.

The cables also reflect anger over the response to the riot by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch ally of Trump.

Pompeo condemned the violence on Capitol Hill but clearly did not address the role Trump played in cheering on his supporters who stormed the building. Pompeo also did not address the consequences or acknowledge that US diplomats abroad may now face new challenges in promoting democracy.

Trump himself has denounced what he considers disloyalty to the State Department. He once called it publicly – and before Pompeo and reporters – a “deep state department,” a reference to what Trump and his supporters see as a cabal of entrenched bureaucrats bent on overthrowing his policies.

It was not immediately clear how many diplomats had signed the cables, both seen by The Associated Press.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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“It is essential that the State Department explicitly denounce President Trump’s role in this violent attack on the United States government,” the first of the two cables said, adding that the president’s own comments should not be used “because it is not credible. voice on this issue.

“Just as we routinely denounce foreign leaders who use violence and intimidation to interfere in peaceful democratic processes and override the will of their constituents, public statements from the department about this episode should also mention President Trump’s name. . It is essential that we communicate to the world that in our system no one – not even the President – is above the law or immune to public criticism.

“It would be a first step towards repairing the damage done to our international credibility,” he said. “This would allow the beacon of democracy to shine despite this dark episode. It would also send a strong message to our friends and adversaries that the State Department applies an ethic of integrity and objective standards when condemning attacks on democracy at home or abroad. “

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