The right thing for President Trump to do in the wake of the attack his followers made on the Congress is to resign, effective at the earliest opportunity, and for the presidency to be assumed for the remainder of the term by Mike Pence. We say that with great sorrow, having endorsed Mr. Trump in 2016 and 2020 on the Republican principles on which he stood. Itís a heartbreaking moment.
Itís not our purpose here to sort out, one way or another, the long train of powder that led to todayís catastrophe. There will be plenty of time to weigh which party in this country has had more politicians temporizing in the face of riots and political violence. There will be time, too, to see who was worse, the protesters who invaded the Capitol today or those who, say, disrupted the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh.
Nor is it our purpose to back away from the principles on which we endorsed the president ó his commitment to low taxes, deregulation, and an eventual monetary reform. We arenít discounting his rejection of appeasement with Iran or his courage in going after terrorists other presidents have failed to pursue. Or his comprehension that moving our Israel embassy to Jerusalem would enable a peace process to begin.
It is also not our purpose here to disparage those who lodged in the Joint Session today protests against electors from so-called contested states. Congress passed the law that established the procedures these solons were following. We have felt from the beginning that the most democratic course would be to permit the objections to be heard in the legal way, even if the law meant that Mr. Biden would nonetheless be confirmed.
No, what weíre thinking is that itís important for the President to acknowledge his personal responsibility. We doubt he intended todayís violence. For weeks, though, he has been making the most incendiary charges. He has pressed them long after the courts disposed of them ó even while Congress was hearing, as the Constitution and statute required, the very objections he urged.
Elements of Mr. Trumpís crowd broke into the Capitol, forced the Joint Session to interrupt its proceedings, invaded the Senate and House chambers, rifled desks of the members, forced security to duck behind desks inside the House chamber and point guns at its doors. Mr. Trumpís incitement, even if inadvertent, is just the kind of thing for which honor requires a leader to take responsibility.
Late in the afternoon, Mr. Trump tweeted a video. Yet again he spoke of the election having been stolen and told his followers that he feels their pain and loves them. Then he called for peace and told his followers that it was time to go home. No doubt he does love his followers, but his words will strike even his supporters as inadequate. Vice President Biden spoke more aptly ó and ahead of Mr. Trump, to boot.
Mr. Trump has only two weeks left to his term. Democrats are already hatching articles of impeachment. If they decide thatís what they want to do, it mightnít take them much more than a day to send them to the Senate. We havenít seen a sounding of the Senate. That, though, is whence President Nixon, even before impeachment articles were passed, suddenly learned that his support had evaporated.
Of all the members of Mr. Trumpís camarilla, the one who has comported himself with the greatest distinction is Vice President Pence. He was presiding over the Joint Session in exactly the way the law requires. He has been loyal to the president while maintaining his own constitutional independence. He would make a perfect steward of the presidency for the remainder of the term.
Itís conceivable that Mr. Pence could show toward Mr. Trump the kind of mercy that President Ford showed President Nixon, though it would be wrong for Mr. Trump to seek a deal on that head. The better part of valor for the President, in any event, is to acknowledge his share of responsibility for todayís violence by tendering a resignation that takes effect after Air Force One touches down in Florida and heís back at Mar-a-Lago.