Today, violent radicals stormed the U.S. Capitol Building after the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s speech at what is likely to be the final rally he’ll hold in the city. In the end, one woman was shot and killed, parts of the building were damaged, and a lot of morons made fools of themselves. Nothing of value was actually accomplished because that obviously wasn’t the goal of the perpetrators. Instead, any possible debate on election integrity will be shelved for the foreseeable future. In fact, most of the elected officials who were set to object to the electoral college certification today have backed out. That line of pursuit is simply over.
In order to regain control of the Capitol, National Guard troops were called in, but it’s who called them in and who wasn’t consulted that makes that decision interesting. It turns out that VP Mike Pence made the call. In fact, the Department of Defense never even contacted the President, completely bypassing him.
This per The Daily Mail.
In an odd statement, acting Pentagon chief Christopher Miller – installed by Trump after he pushed out Defense Secretary Mark Esper after the election – said he had spoken to Pence – not Trump – about calling in the Guard.
“Chairman Milley and I just spoke separately with the Vice President and with Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative Hoyer about the situation at the U.S. Capitol,’ Mark Milley said in a statement, referencing the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and congressional leaders.
‘We have fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation. We are prepared to provide additional support as necessary and appropriate as requested by local authorities. Our people are sworn to defend the constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly.’
Has the 25th Amendment basically been invoked, even if just in spirit?
It sure seems that way. The idea that a scene like this could be unfolding and that the President wouldn’t even be consulted simply does not compute. In the past, Trump has been at the forefront of all these decisions. Also, I’m not sure a vice president has the power to mobilize the National Guard on his own.
This all leaves me to believe there’s something serious going on behind the scenes, and that might not just be idle speculation. We are now getting reports from multiple outlets that Trump’s cabinet is discussing removal.
JUST IN: “This is not news we deliver lightly,” @margbrennan says as she reports: Trump Cabinet secretaries are discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. Nothing formal yet presented to VP Pence.
“I’m talking about actual members of the Cabinet,” she says
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) January 7, 2021
To be frank, this would be an awful idea. If you want to quell tensions and try to stop any future violence, abusing the 25th Amendment isn’t the way to do it. It simply was not created to unseat a president because a tiny number of that president’s supporters did something bad. If this happens, it’s going to be throwing gasoline on the fire, and further, there’s no real justification for it. If the goal here is to protect the Constitution, you don’t do that by violating it. Trump is still President for two weeks. That won’t change because of what happened today.
Regardless, how in charge Trump really is remains to be seen. He doesn’t seem very in charge anymore given the Department of Defense and the Vice President are making major calls without him. Perhaps the President has already checked out and is relinquishing this power voluntary? That’s possible I suppose, though that seems unlikely given how upset Trump was with Pence earlier today.
We’ll see how this all unfolds. I doubt it’s over.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)