A senior editor of the National Review wrote a damning opinion piece for the news site on Friday calling for Donald Trump to be removed from office, making it the second major conservative outlet to do so. Earlier this week, Christianity Today, a leading evangelical publication, shocked many when it announced that it believed the president wasn't fit for the office, marking a break from the majority of right-leaning outlets, which continue to support Trump in the wake of impeachment.
The National Review is a major conservative publication that has led the field since it was established over six decades ago. On Friday, senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a piece called "Four Tests for Impeachment," arguing that Trump had met or exceeded each one and deserved to be removed from office.
"Advocates of a president's removal from office by Congress should have to climb over four walls to reach their objective," Ponnuru argued.
The first, he says, is they should be able to prove the allegations against the president and, second, that these allegations are an abuse of power. The third wall is being able to show that the abuses are impeachable. Finally, they should be able to argue that removing the president is better for the country than allowing him to remain in office. On all four counts, he says, the president's accusers clear these hurdles.
On the first point, Ponnuru says that largely everyone is in agreement, particularly since the transcript of the Ukraine call released by the White House largely confirms the accusation.
"Did President Trump try to use federal policy toward Ukraine to get it to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter? It is pretty clear that he did, and Republican allies of Trump have put very little effort into denying it," he wrote.
He went on to say that the White House's argument that Trump was concerned with corruption in Ukraine and not with his own personal benefit in having his chief political opponent investigated "requires a willful suspension of disbelief."
The National Review editor also points out that there is no evidence that Joe or his son Hunter Biden acted inappropriately in regards to Ukraine.
"It might be possible to regard Trump's Ukraine misadventure as a lapse of judgment, with little harm done, if he showed any repentance or even understanding of what he has done wrong," Ponnuru wrote.
But, he concludes, it shows that Trump's fundamental character makes him unfit to hold the office.
For his part, Trump has continued to argue that the impeachment process is a partisan political effort aimed at overturning the 2016 election.