A Thursday report from Axios claimed that some of Donald Trump’s top advisers are planning to defy the president if he issues and “unlawful or dangerous orders.” The report — which sources senior administration officials with direct knowledge of relevant White House conversations — comes just one day after Trump’s rally outside the Capitol led to rioters breaching the building after he directed his supporters to march on the structure.
“Two senior national security officials told Axios that they and their colleagues at the top level of government have decided to defy any requests they believe would put the nation at risk or break the law. They plan to force Trump to fire them,” the report read.
The publication noted that Trump’s actions have already pushed the resignation of several senior staffers, including Deputy National Security adviser Matt Pottinger and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Others, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have decided to stay amid a purported internal push to maintain national stability in the face of potentially emboldened enemies.
According to Axios‘ sources, the remaining top officials in Trump’s administration are aligned on their view of the U.S. leader’s state of mind and fitness for office.
“After Trump incited protesters to storm the Capitol on Wednesday, there’s a near universal view among top officials that he is unfit and unhinged, these sources said.”
In a piece for Slate, Elliot Hannon argued that the recent wave of resignations is not due to a genuine shock in Trump’s recent behavior but a ploy to preserve their political capital.
“They will act shocked and disavow and claim ignorance, but resignation two weeks before the end of the line isn’t an act of principle — it’s an act of self-preservation.”
The news of internal chaos in the Trump administration comes amid calls for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office, as well as a largely Democratic effort to impeach the head of state and remove him from the White House.
According to The New York Times, Pence is opposed to calls to use the 25th Amendment. The publication pointed to a person close to the vice president and suggested that his purported opposition is supported by several cabinet officials who believe that the move would fuel chaos in Washington.
Conversely, columnist Yoni Appelbaum previously argued that Trump should be impeached as soon as possible to ensure no future presidents follow his lead.