Truths and consequences remain for Trump and GOP: The Note

It may not be easy for the nation to cope with the truths revealed this week.

January 08, 2021, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

President Donald Trump effectively broke the Republican Party before making it his own. It won't be nearly so easy for Republicans to break Trumpism, or for the nation to cope with the truths revealed this week.

The question of this moment, spurred by the cataclysmic events of this first week of 2021, have brought urgency to the question of whether the president can be trusted to fill out the remaining 12 days of his term. But resignations and even constitutional remedies can't fix what's been broken.

At worst, words like treason and sedition apply. At best, the president lost control of some of his most ardent supporters -- a swarm of protesters who committed crimes in the hopes of subverting the election's results, based on Trump's false claims that he won.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump addresses the nation via Twitter video in a post from Jan. 7, 2021.
President Donald Trump addresses the nation via Twitter video in a post from Jan. 7, 2021.
@realDonaldTrump / Twitter

Also lost this week was Republican control of the Senate, and then Trump's control of the Republican Party. And, of course, a range of elected leaders and law enforcement agencies lost control of the Capitol itself.

Trump's belated call for "healing and reconciliation" as part of a "seamless transition of power" doesn't change the fact this transition has already been more violent and disruptive than any that preceded it.

"Tempers must be cooled, and calm restored," the president said in his video message Thursday, in his most explicit comments acknowledging that President-elect Joe Biden will take over his office Jan. 20.

That statement might be enough to give Trump space to finish his time in office. It can't, though, undo the damage for which Trump and many who have backed him are responsible.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The speaker of the House and next Senate majority leader both called on the sitting vice president to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office Thursday in a manner and under circumstances never before seen in our nation's history.

That remarkable fact alone, whether the conversation advances or not, is a heavy statement that reflects these unprecedented times.

It may seem a far-fetched option and at this point it remains unclear if the notion has been formally discussed with Vice President Mike Pence. That said, it seemed far-fetched to many that a group of right-wing extremists would be able to overpower law enforcement and lay siege to the Capitol, too.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Capitol Hill, Jan. 6, 2021.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Capitol Hill, Jan. 6, 2021. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win over President Donald Trump when a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol earlier, disrupting proceedings.
Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

The country is in uncharted political and legal waters and some accountability still feels necessary and inevitable.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wrote Thursday that they had not yet heard back from Pence after trying to reach him. They are awaiting a reply.

The fact that two cabinet secretaries, Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos, resigned Thursday could be a sign that the idea has already been formally shot down among cabinet members. Of course, Chao, married to outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, had a different and very personal experience Wednesday with a loved one on Capitol Hill in harm's way during the violence.

The TIP with Meg Cunningham

On Wednesday, thousands filled the streets of Washington, eventually violently making their way into the Capitol building. Among them were some Republican members of state legislatures across the country, whose attendance is leading to fallout from Democratic organizers, and even some fellow Republicans back home.

West Virginia Del. Derek Evans was in attendance and reportedly posted now-removed videos as he stormed into the Capitol. A former Republican House colleague, now senator-elect, is calling on him to resign or to be expelled from the West Virginia House of Delegates.

PHOTO: Supporters of President Donald Trump climb on walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by Congress, in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
Supporters of President Donald Trump climb on walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by Congress, in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
Jim Urquhart/Reuters

In Missouri, state Rep. Justin Hill skipped his own swearing-in to be present in Washington, saying he was traveling there for "my president and country."

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a group that works to flip state legislatures blue across the country, called for the resignation of lawmakers who were present. Those calls, and resignations themselves, are just some of the many shockwaves Wednesday's riots have sent through the country -- and the ramifications are likely to continue as the country reckons with the violence that ensued.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Editorial producer John Santucci, who describes how President Trump is reacting to growing calls to remove him following Wednesday's siege at the Capitol. ABC News' Jack Date explains how Capitol Police are responding to criticism about how they handled the incident. And ABC News Chief Business and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis breaks down the response to Trump from social media companies. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew reacts to Wednesday's events in Washington, D.C., where a mob of Trump supporters stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol. They also discuss the Senate runoff results in Georgia, where Democrats are projected to win both seats. The question is: What will the Republican Party do now? https://53eig.ht/38oDxXL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

  • President-elect Joe Biden will make a transition announcement Friday in Wilmington, Delaware. He will also receive the president's daily brief and meet with transition advisers.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive the president's daily brief and meet with transition advisers Friday. She will also join Biden for a transition announcement, then she will participate in a virtual event thanking Biden-Harris supporters.
  • The Republican National Committee continues its winter meeting Friday in Amelia Island, Florida.
  • Sunday on ABC's "This Week": ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one exclusively with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Plus, the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week's politics with former New Jersey governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former Chicago mayor and ABC News Contributor Rahm Emanuel, Democracy for America CEO and ABC News Contributor Yvette Simpson, and Dispatch Staff Writer and CNN Political Analyst Sarah Isgur.

Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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