The shameful events of January 6 have shaken American democracy to its core. 

Michael Abramowitz.

Incited by the incumbent president of the United States, a mob temporarily took over the U.S. Capitol and tried to prevent the Congress from exercising its constitutional duty to confirm the choice of the American people for their next president. Thankfully, the effort failed. 

Indeed, the episode underscored the essential resilience of our democracy. At a time of great peril, the congressional and judicial branches have rallied to protect our constitutional system and the rule of law—features that have distinguished the United States during its nearly 250-year history.

There will be time enough for thoughtful reflection about the path forward to restore the health of our democracy, reduce the polarization that has prevented effective action to address the needs of the American people, and recommit to the aspiration of making the United States a beacon of freedom and equality for the world. 

Michael Chertoff

But at least one thing is already clear: The president, through his actions, has violated his oath of office and betrayed the public trust. 

More than that, his ongoing presence and unwillingness or inability to faithfully exercise his constitutional duties pose a direct threat to the peaceful transfer of power and the well-being of the Republic. 

Whether through resignation, impeachment and conviction, or invocation of the 25th amendment, President Trump must leave office immediately.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, and Michael Chertoff, chairman of the Freedom House Board of Trustees. Freedom House is the oldest American organization devoted to the support and defense of democracy around the world. It was formally established in New York in 1941 to promote American involvement in World War II and the fight against fascism. 

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows a rioter smashing a window with a baseball bat at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

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