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Colin Powell says Trump should resign: 'Do what Nixon did'

The former secretary of state said President Trump "should just do what Nixon did, and that's step down," in the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
/ Source: TODAY

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has joined the growing chorus of those calling for President Donald Trump's term to abruptly end by saying Trump should resign.

"Those who are suggesting impeachment or the 25th Amendment, that's time-consuming," Powell told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Friday. "I wish he would just do what Nixon did, and that's step down."

President Richard Nixon became the first president to resign in 1974 when he stepped down while facing impeachment and removal from office following the Watergate scandal. Trump has 12 days left in office before his successor, Joe Biden, is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

"Somebody oughta go up there and tell him it's over," Powell said about Trump. "The plane's waiting for you, you're out. That way he would not only step down, he would in addition sort of cut the guts out from underneath this group of people who he has working for him."

Trump has been castigated by members of Congress and many former high-ranking government officials who say he helped incite the riot of his supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

He has faced growing calls from lawmakers for his impeachment, and there have also been calls for Vice President Mike Pence and other Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from office.

"What he is responsible for is one of the most disgusting things I've 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 quickly as possible."

The comments by Powell, 83, come after two members of Trump's Cabinet, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, have resigned in the wake of the riot. Powell did not have an opinion on whether other members of Trump's Cabinet, particularly those in national security, should resign.

"I want to see the president step down, and there's enough of a government remaining and officials remaining to run it, and we have a vice president who could take over for the next 12 days," Powell said. "But right now I think it's important that the president step down, and if he steps down, then I think we'll start to see all of these idiots who came out and did what they did two days ago, beginning to step down because they no longer have a leader.

"We have to face the reality that the president has been in charge of this, he has been the leader, he has encouraged them at every step, and that's brought us to this horrible situation."

As for how much damage Trump could potentially do in his final 12 days, Powell downplayed any doomsday scenarios.

"We've seen him do some crazy things, but let's not start dragging out things like nuclear codes," he said. "I was the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and I can tell you for sure that if something like this ever happened and someone suddenly said we want to use a nuclear weapon, they would never get near it."

Powell added that he is "deeply troubled" by the planning and security by the Capitol Police that allowed the rioters to gain access to the inside of the building.

"There was enough warning coming that they should've known what was coming," he said.

Powell also lamented the stain on America's global reputation from Wednesday's riot.

"It was a terrible message that was sent to our adversaries, and more importantly, it was sent to our friends and allies," he said. "I think it's reparable, we can work on that and fix it because we have a new team coming in, we have a new president coming in in Joe Biden, who I've known for decades and I think has a better understanding of diplomacy and a better understanding of reaching out, and speaks with a normal tone and not the kind of tone that the president who is about to leave office used to speak all the time."