Trump Crossed the Line and Now Republicans Must Demand his Resignation

08/17/2017 11:24 am ET

Branding and celebrity are the new gold, but branding is tricky and can work in reverse.

One year ago, the Grand Old Party co-branded by nominating a narcissistic novice named Donald Trump as their candidate and now faces a backlash after Trump failed to condemn white supremacists and Nazis who violently protested in Charlottesville.

Within hours of Trump’s tirade, the Republican base began crumbling as its most important traditional constituency – big business leaders – publicly quit Trump’s Manufacturing Council and his Strategic and Policy Forum in protest. His response was to dismantle these honorary organizations to stop the negative fallout.

“This is terrible,” said Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich. “The President of the United States needs to condemn these kinds of hate groups.”

But he won’t and it appears the Republican Party is unwilling to decouple from this President.

Republican reticence perplexes observers in Canada, Britain, Germany, and dozens more mature democracies where a leader as objectionable as Trump can be removed through a mechanism known as a “non-confidence motion” passed by a simple majority of legislators.

But the U.S. constitution is flawed because the founding fathers opted for a system that guarantees the President four years in office unless unseated through an onerous “nuclear” option, a drawn-out impeachment process.

More recently, however, the 25th amendment was passed, a shortcut to dismiss a President. This requires the Vice President and a majority of the President’s own cabinet to determine he’s incapable of fulfilling his duties and to request his resignation.

Arguably, his antics for months, culminating in this week’s overtly racist comments, render him incapable of fulfilling his duties. He lacks moral authority, international credibility, respect for the rule of law, or legislative skills.

This crisis will spread internationally. Foreign leaders are concerned that Russian coziness, private conversations, and classified information have leaked out or been tweeted by a careless and clueless President.

But even he’s demonstrably incapable, the 25th amendment won’t work because Trump will simply fire his critics. Even worse, if prosecutors investigating him find grounds to charge him with Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, or other misdeeds, he will simply pardon himself and any accomplices.

The reality is that Republicans created a constitutional crisis a year ago by giving him brand recognition. After he won, shocked former cabinet secretaries Robert Gates, Condoleeza Rice, and others immediately swarmed around him and convinced him to appoint a few good men in major cabinet positions instead of a dream team of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Steve Bannon, Ivanka, Sarah Palin, Paul Manafort, Nixon dirty trickster Roger Stone and goodness knows who else. Their triage has mitigated his behavior, but cannot last forever, witness the lapse of this week.

The Washington Post argued that he should now be ignored. Others believe that cabinet members should resign in protest. But slaps on the wrist, and resignations, will grease his path to appointing more odious people.

So, what will Republicans do?

Likely nothing which is why the situation exists. There are at least two factions in the party and the moderate one should form a coalition with Democrats to censure Trump and launch an impeachment initiative, if only to keep him in line.

Already former Republican Presidents, George H. and George W. Bush criticized his comments, and recent nominees for President, John McCain and Mitt Romney, have called him out by name.

Romney was blunt: “No, [the protesters in Charlottesville were] not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.”

But leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have pulled their punches, hardly surprising since they handed him the nomination a year ago despite his obvious bigotry and inadequacies.

They now flirt with escalating racial violence as well as ballot box extinction and global instability. Without any extraction plan, the Republican Party will implode along with Trump and will deserve to. So will America’s reputation.

It will be up to a few good men in the White House, moderates, Democrats, and civil society to protect the Republic from an emboldened, inadequate white House.

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