#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Thursday 28 January 2021
Advertisement

Biden says Trump decision to skip inauguration a 'good thing' as calls mount for his resignation

Biden slammed the Trump administration’s distribution of Covid-19 vaccine as a “travesty.”

Image: Susan Walsh

Updated Jan 8th 2021, 10:25 PM

US PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden welcomed Donald Trump’s announcement that he won’t attend the 20 January inauguration, calling it a “good thing.”

“I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

“One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on,” Biden said. “It’s a good thing, him not showing up.”

“He’s been an embarrassment to the country,” Biden said.

“He’s not fit to serve,” the president-elect added of Trump, who is facing the possibility of being impeached next week for inciting his supporters to storm the US Capitol.

“He exceeded even my worst notions about him,” Biden said. “He’s one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America.”

Biden said Vice President Mike Pence would be welcome at his inauguration.

Biden’s remarks came after Trump tweeted earlier Friday that he would not attend the inauguration.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted.

It would make Trump just the fourth living and outgoing president in history not to attend his successors’ inauguration and the first in 152 years.  

Biden went on to slam the Trump administration’s distribution of Covid-19 vaccine as a “travesty.”

“Vaccines give us hope, but the roll-out has been a travesty,” Biden told reporters. 

He said distribution of the vaccine would be “the greatest operational challenge we will ever face as a nation.”

A Biden spokesman told CNN on Friday the administration would release every available dose of Covid-19 vaccine produced in the country, rather than holding back half the supply to make sure people receive their booster shots on time.

Impeachment

nancy-pelosi-gives-an-interview-on-the-capitol Pelosi walks with CBS's 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl, during an interview at the US Capitol this afternoon. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she spoke with the nation’s top military leader about ensuring that an “unhinged” President Donald Trump does not launch a nuclear attack in his final days in office.

The top Democrat in Congress said she talked with Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley “to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.”

The extraordinary acknowledgement that Pelosi has spoken with military brass about restricting the president’s powers enshrined in the US Constitution came in a letter to her Democratic colleagues, and highlight the tensions in Washington over Trump’s remaining days in the White House.

“The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” she wrote.

There is increased momentum among Democrats to once again impeach US President Donald Trump again but a senior Republican has come out against the prospect. 

The Democratic members of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs have written to Pelosi saying that Trump should be “removed immediately” from office.

The letter states that the US Capitol was attacked “by armed insurrectionists at the urging of the President of the United States”. 

Trump also could be removed from office by his own Cabinet using the 25th amendment, something the elected officials said they would also support, an action that has never been taken in US history.

Speaking today, Pelosi reportedly said there was more Democratic support for impeachment than in 2019

Trump was successfully impeached by the House of Representatives but subsequently acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate meaning that he was not removed from office

A two-thirds majority in the Senate is needed to remove a President from office and although Democrats now control the Senate they do not have such a majority. 

Republican support for such a move would therefore be needed.

In a statement this afternoon, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy said he would not support impeachment, saying it would “divide our country more”. 

Other Republicans have said however that they would consider impeaching Trump following the riots at the Capitol Buildings in Washington DC. 

“If they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move, because as I told you I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Republican senator Ben Sassesaid in an interview on CBS This Morning.

“He swore an oath to the American people to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He acted against that,” Sasse said. “What he did was wicked.” 

Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark of Massachusetts says the House “can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the House floor quickly”, as early as the coming week, if Mike Pence does not invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Biden refused to weigh in on moves to impeach President Donald Trump, saying the matter was up to Congress.

“What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide,” he told reporters in his hometown of Wilmington, two days after Trump encouraged a mob of supporters to march on Congress.

“We’re going to do our job and Congress can decide how to proceed,” he said.

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican senator to call on Trump to resign this afternoon, and questioned her future within the party. 

“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News. 

“He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice-president. He doesn’t want to stay there.

“He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing,” she said. 

Fallout

The death of a police officer from injuries sustained as Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol is also forcing hard questions about the defeated president’s remaining days in office and the ability of the Capitol Police to secure the area.

The US Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Brian D Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” during the Wednesday riot.

He is the fifth person to die because of the melee.

During the melee, Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement officials said.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

The rampage that has shocked the world and left the country on edge forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials over the failure to stop the breach.

It led politicians to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a “terrorist attack”.

Protesters were urged by Trump during a rally near the White House on Wednesday to head to Capitol Hill, where politicians were scheduled to confirm Biden’s presidential victory.

The mob swiftly broke through police barriers, smashed windows and paraded through the halls, sending politicians into hiding.

“We must ensure that the mob who attacked the People’s House and those who instigated them are held fully accountable,” said Rosa DeLauro and Tim Ryan in a statement.

The US Justice Department announced that it has charged 15 people involved in the assault on Congress, including one man accused of possessing bombs made to act like “homemade napalm.”

But Ken Kohl, a federal prosecutor with the Washington US attorney’s office, said they did not expect to charge anyone with “incitement” or “insurrection” in Wednesday’s violence, amid calls for legal action against President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others for encouraging it.

The department unveiled the cases against 13 people, including Richard Barnett, a Trump supporter who invaded the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Lonnie Coffman of Alabama, who was found carrying two handguns and had 11 Styrofoam-enhanced Molotov cocktails in his truck.

Others whose charges were unsealed include Christopher Albert of Maryland, who allegedly entered the US Capitol with a loaded handgun; and Mark Leffingwell, charged with punching an officer.

Most of the 13 were charged with illegal entry into restricted buildings of Congress, and violent or disorderly conduct.

They were also charged with impeding government functions after forcing the shutdown of a joint meeting of Congress to officially certify that Trump rival Joe Biden had won the 3 November election, which Trump had until Thursday refused to accept.

With reporting by Press Association, AFP, Adam Daly, and Rónán Duffy

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (144)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel