Two members of US Donald Trump’s Cabinet on Thursday resigned with days left in the administration in protest over the storming of the Capitol by a mob of the president’s supporters.
The education secretary and transportation secretary — the only two women in Trump’s inner Cabinet — both said they could no longer remain in office after the violent rampage on a ceremonial session of Congress that certified US president-elect Joe Biden’s victory on Wednesday.
Five people have died as a result of the melee, including a police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” during the riot, US Capitol Police said.
“That behavior was unconscionable for our country. There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” said US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a conservative stalwart who had served throughout the administration.
“Impressionable children are watching all this, and they are learning from us,” she said in a letter to Trump. “They must know from us that America is greater than what transpired yesterday.”
US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (趙小蘭), who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, earlier said that it was “a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol Building following a rally he addressed.”
“It has deeply troubled me in a way I simply cannot set aside,” she added.
Some of Trump’s critics do not give those in the early-exit caucus much credit for walking away from their jobs with less than two weeks left in the administration, seeing it as little more than a face-saving effort.
“Nobody is fooled by these last-second, come-to-Jesus conversions,” said Rick Wilson, cofounder of the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans fiercely critical of Trump.
Several Democratic lawmakers also dismissed the resignations as posturing.
“Rats leaving a sinking ship,” US Representative Jack Speier wrote on Twitter.
Democrats said that the secretaries should have instead worked to remove Trump from power under the US constitution’s 25th amendment, which allows a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove the chief executive if he is deemed unfit to serve.
US Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, on Thursday urged “the good men and women honorably serving at all levels of the federal government to please stay at their post for the protection of our democracy.”
“The actions of a rogue president will not and should not reflect on you,” Manchin said. “Instead, your patriotism and commitment to the greater good of our country will be reaffirmed.”
US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, pleaded for those in the national security apparatus to stay in their positions.
“We need you now more than ever,” Graham said.
“To those who believe you should leave your post now to make a statement, I would urge you not,” he added.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had a different strategy in mind.
They said they would move forward with an impeachment effort if US Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet failed to invoke the 25th amendment to oust Trump from office.
Trump in a video later on Thursday finally acknowledged that he would be leaving office on Jan. 20 and condemned the violence, but did not congratulate Biden.
Additional reporting by AP
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes
‘INCREASED VIGILANCE’: A source of infection has not yet been found for the latest two cases in a hospital cluster, which should serve as a warning, Chen Shih-chung said A total of 2,991 people associated with a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital have been put under home isolation, after an emergency expanded isolation order was issued on Sunday evening, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Fifteen people have so far tested positive in the cluster infection. The first case in the cluster (case No. 838) was reported on Jan. 12 — a doctor who treated an infected patient who had returned from the US. Contact tracing for the first 13 cases found connections to case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who
FAMILY UNIT: The CECC warned that the eldest sister of the latest case, who also has COVID-19, visited Taoyuan’s Chungping evening market on Tuesday and Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a domestic case of COVID-19, associated with a recent cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the latest case (No. 885) is a woman in her 50s, who is the third daughter of case No. 881, a man in his 90s. The woman is the main caregiver of her elderly father, who had been hospitalized earlier this month and was treated by a nurse (case No. 852) from Monday to Thursday last week, he said, adding that
DUBIOUS HONOR? A man in his 90s, who tested positive yesterday and is part of the Taoyuan hospital cluster, is the oldest person in Taiwan to have contracted COVID-19 Taiwan yesterday recorded six new imported cases of COVID-19 and two new domestic cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the local infections are linked to the cluster at Taoyuan General Hospital, which now totals 12 cases. One of the domestic cases is a man in his 90s, who was treated earlier this month at Taoyuan General Hospital and tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday last week, four days before he was discharged, the center said in a statement. After one of the nurses on the ward was confirmed on Saturday last week to have contracted COVID-19, the