(Bloomberg) -- A former Republican ally of Donald Trump said the president “spiraled down into a kind of madness” after losing the election, and that the best option for the U.S. is for him “to resign and go away as soon as possible.”
“It does not look as though there is the will or the consensus to exercise the 25th Amendment option. And I don’t think there’s time to do an impeachment,” Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The best thing would be a resignation.”
Toomey said Trump, through his “outrageous behavior in the post-election period,” culminating in his role in Wednesday’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, isn’t a viable candidate for office “ever again.”
Another top Republican, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, disagreed and said Trump should serve out his term, which ends Jan. 20.
“My personal view is the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again,” Blunt said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
The president spent the two months after his election defeat repeating unsubstantiated claims about election fraud that have been knocked down in dozens of lawsuits but have been widely adopted by his supporters and backed by some GOP lawmakers.
Trump urged his supporters to come to Washington on the day Congress was due to officially seal his election defeat. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump he tweeted in December. “Be there, will be wild!”
Speaking to thousands of supporters on Wednesday, Trump called his election loss an “egregious assault on our democracy,” urged his supporters to “walk down to the Capitol,” and added, “you will never take back our country with weakness.”
Other former close allies of Trump spoke out on Sunday. Chris Christie, the Republican former governor of New Jersey, said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump’s incitement of the Capitol riot was impeachable.
Toomey said Trump’s most recent actions were a step beyond what had been accepted for years as his typical behavior. “What he did this past week is wildly different from the offensive tweets that were common during his presidency, and I don’t think that those tweets clearly indicated that this was coming,” he said.
Trump Impeachment Vote as Soon as Tuesday
Separately, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Toomey suggested the GOP would put the Trump era in the past and that the soon-to-be ex-president wouldn’t have the same kind of influence on the party going forward.
And Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former acting chief of staff, said Trump’s grip on Republicans needed to slip.
“If you have any role at all in what happened on Wednesday, that you sort of, you don’t deserve to lead the party anymore,” Mulvaney said on NBC. “The ideas are bigger than the people. But I think, I think the voters will take that into consideration.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday told lawmakers to beready to return to Washington this week, suggesting she is considering impeachment or another formal response to Trump’s encouragement of supporters who attacked the Capitol.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican who has been critical of the president, said he’s not convinced impeachment was the right move “because it victimizes Donald Trump.”
There are a “lot of ideas with censure, preventing him from being able to run again,” Kinzinger said. “We were very close to actually having members of Congress killed” during Wednesday’s riot.
Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate Majority Leader, said Sunday that the risks from violent individuals incited by Trump remains high.
“The same incendiary, dangerous rhetoric online that occurred before January 6, which proved to be a warning of the insurrectionist attack, has only escalated since,” Schumer said in a statement describing a conversation with FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, said on ABC that Trump “represents a clear and present danger” while remaining in office.
“What happened Wednesday was insurrection against the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
(Updates with Roy Blunt in fifth paragraph.)