Trump supporters participate in a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. As Congress prepared to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud. Credit: John Minchillo / AP

The BDN Editorial Board operates independently from the newsroom, and does not set policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on

“He was a total monster today.”

So mad “he couldn’t see straight.” These were descriptions of Donald Trump from members of his own administration on Wednesday when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, driving members of Congress into hiding and disrupting, but not derailing, the certification of Joe Biden’s election as the next president.

These are not descriptions of someone who should be in charge of the United States, even for the 12 days remaining in Trump’s presidency.

There are two mechanisms to remove a president from office, impeachment and the 25th Amendment. Both are slow given the current crisis, but they are the options at hand and doing nothing is unacceptable given the potential for Trump to put more Americans in danger.


Under the 25th Amendment, half the members of a president’s cabinet and the vice president may recommend to Congress that a president be stripped of their powers and duties because of an inability to carry them out.

Because of fears that future Trump actions could result in more violence and death, members of his staff are talking about the amendment, according to news reports, although Vice President Mike Pence is said to object to this move. Numerous members of his staff, and two cabinet secretaries, Elaine Chao who oversaw the Transportation Department and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, have resigned after Wednesday’s insurrection. Some staffers said they wanted to leave but feared that worse people would then be in charge, a horrifying statement about Trump’s motivations and inability to lead.

Rosanne Boyland of Kennesaw, Georgia, was one of the five people who lost their lives as a result of the siege of the Capitol Wednesday. Justin Cave, her brother-in-law, said Thursday that Boyland, who was apparently trampled by fellow Trump supporters, was “really passionate about her beliefs.” He put some blame for her death on the president and called for his removal.

“I’ve never tried to be a political person but it’s my own personal belief that the president’s words incited a riot that killed four of his biggest fans last night and I believe that we should invoke the 25th Amendment at this time,” Cave said.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first Republican member of Congress to call for an invocation of the 25th Amendment. “All indications are that the president has become unmoored not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. He said Trump, who he blamed for Wednesday’s rampage, needed to be removed from office to ensure “we have a sane captain of the ship.”

Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree both say they support removal under the 25th Amendment. Pingree also says she supports two articles of impeachment that have been prepared by several House Democrats. If Trump were impeached and removed from office, which is doubtful given his short remaining time in office, he could be barred from holding federal office in the future.

Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Jared Golden have condemned the president for his role in this week’s violence, but they have been noncommittal about next steps. We understand concerns, voiced by Collins’ office, about further inflaming divisions in America, but it is clear that Trump has been fueling those divisions and must go.

As Congress prepared to finalize the certification of Biden’s victory, Trump, in a speech to a large group of supporters behind the White House on Wednesday, reiterated his grievances about the Nov. 3 election, continuing his disproven claims of election fraud.

“We will never give up. We will never concede — it doesn’t happen — we don’t concede this theft of our election,” the president said.

He then called on those assembled to “walk down to the Capitol.”

“We are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” he said, “and we are probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them — because you will never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Previously, Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., warned of challenges to Republican members of Congress who did not back the efforts to overturn the election results: “We’re coming for you,” he said. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has led the unsuccessful and legally embarrassing effort to overturn the election in court, called for “trial by combat” while speaking to that same group.

While the siege of the Capitol was happening, Trump posted a video, which has been removed from many social media platforms, in which he reiterated his claims of a stolen election and told his supporters to go home.

“We have to have peace. We have to have law and order,” he said as his supporters, who overpowered Capitol Police, mauraded through the House and Senate, stealing things and vandalizing the U.S. Capitol. The president did not condemn these actions or call for the perpetrators to be punished in that video.

“So go home,” he said. “We love you. You’re very special.”

These are not the words and actions of a competent president.

It wasn’t until Thursday night that Trump stood in front of a camera to acknowledge his election defeat, commit to a “smooth, orderly and seamless” transition of power, and actually condemn the “heinous attack” on the Capitol. Those were significant acknowledgements, but they came far too late. Those long overdue words didn’t change the fact that Trump incited the mob and directed them to the Capitol on Wednesday — an impeachable offense — and then spent the rest of the day abdicating his responsibilities as our nation’s chief executive.

What he said and did Wednesday had already made it clear: He must be removed from office. Or, as the Wall Street Journal suggested, he should resign.

Avatar photo

The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...