Forget impeachment. Forget Robert Mueller’s investigation. Forget Russia. Well, don’t forget them, but put them to the side for a moment. Investigations and impeachments and Senate trials take time, and we don’t have time any more. The president has to go now, and it’s up to his fellow Republicans to get him to leave.
On Tuesday, the president of the United States said there were good people marching alongside the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
We can’t have a president who says good people march with Nazis. We just can’t. We have so much work to do on race in this country, so many people who need to understand the depth of systemic racism that pervades every aspect of society. We need dialog and understanding, but right now we’re in an emergency, and this guy has to go.
It can’t just be up to liberals and leftists to make this call anymore. It’s not enough for Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan to issue generic statements denouncing racism. We have a racist president. Every elected official needs to denounce him by name.
But even that doesn’t go far enough. It’s time, after nearly 30 weeks with him in office stomping on the Constitution and basic human decency, to demand his resignation. Every time we thought there were no more lines for him to cross, he finds a bright red one and leaps over it.
This can’t be a partisan issue any more. At some point all but the most extreme Republicans have to be able to recognize a national emergency when they see one. If not now, when? If this president isn’t unfit for the office after what he said Tuesday, who would be?
Will it work? Would Trump go? It’s tough to predict, but never forget how sensitive Trump is to criticism. With enough pressure from the entirety of the political structure in this country, including a refusal to work with him, he might dig in – but he just might give up and go back to running his real estate empire. Even someone as self-delusional as he is can only face so much pressure to resign before giving in.
Hell, Republicans, you could even come out ahead in the political calculus. Making Trump resign would be a momentary embarrassment for the party, but you’d end up with Mike Pence, a bedrock conservative who will sign your giant tax cuts for the wealthy and not call you names on Twitter. I know you’re afraid of your party’s primary voters, but sometimes you have to do what’s right for the country rather than yourself.
It certainly isn’t a difficult moral question. What Donald Trump said in his press conference Tuesday was so awful, so contrary to all notions of basic human decency, that it immediately makes him utterly unfit to be president.
Sure, he’s been unfit all along – stupid and cruel and corrupt and craven. But this is different, and this is worse. It’s unprecedented in the history of the modern presidency. We’ve had presidents of both parties whose policies disproportionately hurt people of color. We’ve have presidents who use dog whistles and political strategies to appeal to white voters’ racial resentment.
But even these presidents could speak eloquently against hate and extremism when it reared its head. None of them ever looked at a crowd of racists bearing torches, shouting, “Jews will not replace us,” and declared there were good people among them.
A good person shouts back. Immediately. Trump took three days to denounce the most extreme marchers, then one day later undid what little good he had done with his reluctant remarks. He stood at a microphone and praised people who stood with neo-Nazis and the KKK.
There’s no question what’s right for the country. President Trump must resign as soon as possible. And he will not do so without political pressure from the people in his own party. History will look back at this moment, and it will not judge kindly the people who couldn’t muster the decency to do the right thing.
Republicans, if you believe in America, if you believe in the decency of our people, then your path is clear. Tell Trump to resign. Make the call so loud and so universal he cannot ignore it.
And if he clings to power in the face of massive pressure from all sides, then you can impeach his ass.
Watch below: Whether Trump eventually will be forced out of office is as much a political question as it is a legal one.