Following the storming of the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Wednesday, several top White House officials have resigned, with others reportedly considering whether or not to step down.
The extraordinary events, which left four people dead, led to reports that some senior administration officials were discussing the use of the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power or resigning themselves.
By Thursday morning, it appeared some of the senior officials who were rumored to be considering resigning, such as National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, will instead serve out the last two weeks of Trump’s term. O’Brien was reportedly persuaded by some of his colleagues to remain in his post.
While there is still a lot of uncertainty about how widespread any resignations will be, the White House has seen several staff members step down already:
- Matt Pottinger, deputy national security adviser
- Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump
- Sarah Matthews, deputy press secretary
- Rickie Niceta, White House social secretary
- Mick Mulvaney, special envoy to Northern Ireland and former White House chief of staff
- Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council
- John Costello, deputy assistant secretary of commerce
- Elaine Chao, Transportation secretary and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
- Betsy DeVos, Education secretary
“As someone who worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today,” Matthews said in a statement. “I’ll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”
The president’s incitement of the riot also drew a rebuke from Congress, where the House and Senate reconvened to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election, and Democrats began openly discussing impeachment and the 25th Amendment. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said on the Senate floor: “What happened today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”
Early Thursday morning, two months after Election Day and the day after blood had been spilled at the US Capitol, Trump appeared to commit to an orderly transition to the Biden administration.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” the president said in a statement.