LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts said Friday that no good purpose would be served by forcing President Donald Trump to step down.
“I don’t believe it serves anybody to have the president resign or be removed from office,” Ricketts said at a press briefing. “We have to focus on a smooth transition to the Biden administration.”
The Republican governor, a consistent supporter of Trump, said that since the president pledged Thursday a smooth transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden, it is unnecessary to press for his removal from office.
Several Democrats have pushed for action against the president for his role in encouraging the rioters who violently broke into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, vandalizing the building and disrupting the congressional vote to affirm Biden’s Electoral College victory. Five people died amid the rampage, including a Capitol security guard and a protester.
The 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows for the replacement of a president deemed unfit to hold office by the vice president. Some Democrats have also called for impeachment proceedings.
Ricketts, when asked if Trump bore any responsibility for the violent invasion of the Capitol, said that the president had asked his supporters to protest.
“But the protestors were the ones who decided to break into the Capitol,” the governor said. “They did that on their own.”
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., in an interview Friday, said he thinks Democrats could find bipartisan agreement on censuring the president. But impeachment is a partisan exercise that would “divide the country more,” he said.
The rioters who broke into the Capitol are ultimately accountable for their actions, Bacon said, but the president has some responsibility for “his demagoguery of saying we’re not going to surrender and go to the Capitol.”
“There’s no doubt we have a fire going on in our political discourse, and this (impeachment) is going to throw gasoline on it,” he said.
World-Herald Staff Writer Aaron Sanderford contributed to this report.