Lisa Murkowski is the first Republican senator to say Trump should resign.
That includes a small group of mostly moderate Republican leaders who have condemned Trump and demanded that he resign or be forced out, either by invoking the 25th amendment or impeachment proceedings.
Democrats are already planning to initiate a second round of impeachment proceedings against the president and could vote on articles as early as next week. Trump could very well be impeached a second time, but two-thirds of the Senate would still be needed to convict him before Trump could be removed from office.
Most Republican senators have so far stayed silent or are opposed. Large swaths of the House GOP caucus stand resolutely behind Trump. But the forcefulness of some denouncements signals there are at least some in the Republican Party who want a future separate from Trump — small though that group may be.
Republican officials calling for Trump’s removal
Below are the few Republicans currently in office who have so far demanded Trump’s resignation or removal from office.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican senator to demand that Trump leave office. She did not mention impeachment or other methods of removal, but was unequivocal in her censure of the president.
“He doesn’t want to stay there,” she added. “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.”
Murkowski has a reputation as one of the more moderate Senate Republicans — though she may not even call herself a Republican for much longer. She told the Anchorage Daily News that she might leave the party if it continues to organize itself around Trump. “I will tell you, if the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,” she said.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott
“Make no mistake, the President of the United States is responsible for this event,” Scott wrote in a thread on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. “President Trump has orchestrated a campaign to cause an insurrection that overturns the results of a free, fair and legal election.”
Enough is enough.
— Governor Phil Scott (@GovPhilScott) January 6, 2021
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Kinzinger also called on the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, the first Republican member of Congress to do so.
“All indications are that the president has become unmoored not just from his duty or even his oath but from reality itself,” Kinzinger said in a video statement posted on Twitter. “It is for this reason that I call for the Vice President and members of the Cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people and that we have a sane captain of the ship.”
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 7, 2021
Kinzinger was among the first Republicans to recognize Biden as the rightful president-elect, and has tried to debunk election fraud conspiracies. He has criticized his congressional colleagues who had planned to object to the Electoral College results, calling them “not serious people.” Kinzinger did not specifically mention impeachment in his statement, though he told MSNBC he has not ruled out supporting such a move.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan
Maryland’s governor may be the most prominent GOP figure to demand Trump’s removal. In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Hogan said “there is no question that America could be better off if the president resigned or were removed from office.”
— Lorenzo Hall (@LorenzoHall) January 7, 2021
Hogan, though a Republican, is not exactly an infrequent Trump critic, and he’s broken with the president on his handling of the coronavirus and immigration. In 1974, Hogan’s father, a GOP congressman, was the first House Republican to support the impeachment of Richard Nixon.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker
Massachusetts’s Republican Gov. Charlie Baker — another moderate GOPer who’s clashed with the president — also blamed Trump for the violence in Washington, DC, and for fomenting the chaos with his election fraud conspiracy theories. In a news conference Thursday, he said Pence should lead the transition.
“It’s 14 days, OK?” Baker said, according to the Boston Globe. “I think people should pursue whatever they believe will make it possible, in the most expeditious way possible, for the president to step down and the vice president to assume the powers of the office for the next 14 days so that an orderly transition can take place.”
Most of the Republican resistance stops short of removal
Still, the list of Republicans who have explicitly said Trump should go is still quite short, and maybe not all that surprising.
Many — though certainly not all — Republican leaders have now called out Trump for feeding these conspiracy theories to his supporters, and for using his platform at the rally Wednesday to radicalize the protesters present.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) did not directly call for Trump’s removal, but in an interview with CBS This Morning, he signaled that he was open to impeachment proceedings.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has blamed President Trump for the violent assault on the Capitol, calling it an “inevitable and ugly outcome.”@SenSasse joins us now. pic.twitter.com/bZHDKuXEWx
“The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitively consider whatever articles they might move because as I’ve told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse told CBS This Morning’s Gayle King. “He swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He acted against that. What he did was wicked.”
A handful of Cabinet officials have also resigned in protest, most notably Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, and Betsy DeVos, the education secretary. Others considered resigning, including National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, though he was reportedly persuaded to stay on.
Condemnation came from former officials, including those who served under Trump. Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who resigned last month not long after he denied the president’s allegations of widespread voter fraud, said in a statement that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.” Barr said, “The president’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters.” John Kelly, former White House chief of staff and former homeland security secretary, said on CNN that he would, if still in the Cabinet, vote to remove Trump.
Some of these denouncements come a bit late, as many of Trump’s Republican allies did little to stop or condemn Trump in weeks prior.
And so far, few Republicans with actual power to remove the president from office — i.e., those in Congress or leading a Cabinet agency — have said they would definitely do so. Pence is reportedly opposed to invoking the 25th Amendment, and many other lawmakers look like they’d rather move on, echoing the president’s statement Thursday night, where he recognized that a “new administration” would take over and tried to distance himself from the Capitol assault.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s biggest defenders in the Senate, said Friday that, as Trump stated, “it is time to heal and move on.”
“If Speaker Pelosi pushes impeachment in the last days of the Trump presidency it will do more harm than good.”