The retired four-star general, who served under former President George W. Bush, called for Trump’s resignation after the president repeated claims that the election was fraudulent at a “Stop the Steal” rally Wednesday just before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress was counting electoral votes.
“Those who are suggesting impeachment or the … 25th Amendment — that’s time-consuming. I wish he would just do what Nixon did and step down,” Powell, a staunch Trump critic, told the TODAY Show on Thursday.
A number of lawmakers, political pundits and celebrities have called on Trump to resign or on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the president from office less than two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
“What he is responsible for is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen in all my years as a government employee here in the United States of America and in Washington, D.C.,” Powell said. “He should be totally ashamed of himself, and he should take that shame and turn it into a resignation as soon as possible.”
In a video posted to Twitter after the social media company unlocked the president’s account, Trump condemned the violent riots. He had initially posted a video to his account expressing “love” for protesters after they stormed the Capitol, telling them to “go home in peace.”
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem,” Trump said in the more recent footage, adding that he had “immediately” deployed the National Guard on Wednesday.
“Emotions are high now, but tempers must be cooled and calm restored,” he said. “We must get on with the business of America. My campaign rigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.”
Trump said his focus now is on “ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition,” acknowledging that “a new administration” would be sworn in on Jan. 20, though he announced in a Friday tweet that he would not attend the inauguration.
While sitting presidents have skipped the inauguration of their predecessors in the past, it has been rare, particularly in the modern era.