WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Amid resignations of key staffers, White House advisers say President Donald Trump has no intention of leaving his post. According to them, Trump doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
Surprising no one, President Trump announced he “will not be going to the inauguration on January 20th,” breaking a longstanding tradition for outgoing U.S. presidents
Instead, CNN has learned he and First Lady Melania Trump are currently scheduled to depart Washington for Mar-a-Lago the day before Joe Biden is sworn in.
While Trump’s absence was not unexpected, the move undermines a commitment he made Thursday night in a video that senior staff convinced him to make by warning he’s at risk of being removed from office.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th,” the president said in the video. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”
With less than two weeks left, the West Wing is in crisis mode amid a growing threat to impeach Trump again, a wave of resignations as former staffers call on Trump to step down.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is the latest to announce she’ll leave before Trump’s term ends.
And CNN has learned two other top aides, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Senior Adviser Hope Hicks, have also discussed resigning.
Trump still hasn’t spoken to Pence after he defied him by following a constitutional process to certify Biden’s win, but Pence was seen arriving at the White House Friday.
While Democrats are threatening to impeach Trump if Pence doesn’t lead the cabinet in invoking the 25th Amendment, which would rob him of his power, some Republicans, like Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, are getting behind the effort
“I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because, as I’ve told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse said. “What he did was wicked.”
Amid bipartisan concerns about what Trump will do during his last twelve days in office, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats that she talked to the nation’s top military leader about ensuring Trump doesn’t launch a nuclear attack.
After announcing she spoke to Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, Pelosi wrote, “The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country.”
Meanwhile, a Capitol Hill police officer has died after sustaining injuries at the pro-Trump rally that saw protesters storm the Capitol building Wednesday.
The Capitol’s flag is flying at half staff, but the White House’s flag has not been lowered.