In the 16th century, mice and rats were credited with knowing when a rotten house was on the brink of collapse.
This became the language of fleeing from a sinking ship, but the original version suggested more foreknowledge, an ability to anticipate forgetting and get out early.
The question looming over officials leaving the White House is whether they left it too late, whether they will carry the Donald Trump stain no matter how fast they run.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger are among at least a dozen officials and aides who have resigned since a crowd of the president’s supporters stormed. at the United States Capitol on Wednesday. causing five deaths, including that of a police officer.
Other former loyalists without a formal position in the administration have joined the fight for coverage by publicly resigning from Trump.
“There is no question of the impact his rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the turning point for me,” DeVos said in his letter upon resigning from the cabinet. The chaos on Capitol Hill was “inconceivable for our country,” he said.
The president’s attempt on Thursday to distance himself from the mob by saying those who “broke the law will pay” and promising an “orderly transition” to Joe Biden on January 20 was seen in part as an attempt to stop more defections from the White House. .
“It shows that Trump has walked away from his administration,” said Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of Ruler and ruin: the fall of moderation and the destruction of the Republican Party. “It’s partly about people looking at his political legacies and his reputation and believing that Trump is a damaged product right now.”
Shocking disorder in Washington DC would taint Trump and his children and greatly diminish their influence over the Republican Party, Kabaservice said. As a critic of Trump, he welcomed the resignations of officials. “I guess late conversion is better than no conversion.”
Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said in her resignation letter that the violence “deeply worries me in a way that I just can’t put aside.”
Mick Mulvaney, a former White House chief of staff, said Trump’s incitement to the mob forced him to resign as a special envoy to Northern Ireland. He predicted more resignations but said not all disappointed staff would leave. “Those who choose to stay, and I’ve talked to some of them, choose to stay because they are concerned that the president will make someone worse,” Mulvaney told CNBC.
Others leaving include Tyler Goodspeed, Acting Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Chief of Staff Sarah Matthews, White House Deputy Press Secretary, and Ryan Tully, Senior Adviser on Russia.
The fate of those fleeing an administration in its twilight is unclear.
For Republicans who scorned Trump’s incendiary rhetoric on race, immigration and other issues, it feels pretty late. “You have to wonder why it took them so long to see what Trump is,” said John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College and a former aide to the Republican Congress.
“Didn’t they understand his character? Didn’t they know of the many times he winked at violence? The resignations would have been much stronger if they had come months or years ago, ”said Pitney, author of Anti-american: the false patriotism of Donald Trump.
The newly minted ex-Trumpers will occupy an awkward position in a Republican Party that is splitting between those who had warned of Trump’s damage to the country and the party and those who still align with the president’s policies and supporters.
“Trump is more toxic than before. But he still has the support of a surprisingly large fraction of Republican voters, ”Pitney said. “As long as he wants to be politically active, he will be a force in the party. I don’t think he’s going away, for one simple reason: politics is his main source of income. You can keep filling your pockets by selling merchandise and monetizing your status. He will need the money for the colossal legal fees he will face for years to come. “
Some former officials, including those who left the administration before Wednesday’s chaos, say they have struggled to find work because of their association with the president.
“People who are hiring see everything that happened and they have to question their morals and ethics, especially in terms of what continues to happen today, about why they chose to work for that environment,” Olivia Troye, former national security and the White House that left in August, he told Politico.
A defense official looking for another job told the news site that a potential employer had compared Trump administration staff to the Hitler Youth. “That attitude doesn’t help,” the official said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism