Jason Schmid doesn’t believe in pulling punches. Earlier today, the top policy staffer of the House Armed Services Committee resigned in protest over Republican efforts to disqualify certified electors from states won by Joe Biden in the election. In his resignation letter, Schmid accused the GOP members of having promoted “a poisonous lie that the election was illegitimate,” and that in doing so enabled extremists to attack the Capitol.
In choosing to engage in “political theater,” the Iraq War veteran accused those Republicans of having made foreign conflict more likely in the future, thanks to the undermining of the American example of stable self-governance.
In a scathing resignation letter obtained by POLITICO, Jason Schmid, a longtime senior House Armed Services Committee staffer, slammed the GOP members of the panel who objected to President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, particularly after a mob incited by Trump stormed the Capitol last Wednesday and left five people dead. …
In his letter, Schmid said the GOP lawmakers “harmed the ability of every service member, intelligence officer, and diplomat to defend the nation and advance American interests.” He said they “disregarded” American democratic ideals “for cynical political purposes.”
“Regardless of the motivations behind the vote, these members bear the consequences that the men and women in harm’s way will face for many years to come,” Schmid wrote. “I cannot imagine any series of events more damaging to the already fragile US led post-World War II order that has brought more peace and prosperity to the world than at any other time in history.”
Schmid laid the blame for the violence on the rhetoric coming from Donald Trump and Republicans in both chambers. And on top of that, Schmid couldn’t believe that over half of the House Republican caucus voted to block the electors after getting chased out of the Capitol by the mob and the resulting deaths that took place:
The sad, incontrovertible truth is that the people who laid siege to the Capitol were and continue to be domestic enemies of the Constitution of the United States. A poisonous lie that the election was illegitimate and should be overturned inspired so called “patriots” to share common cause with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists to attack the seat of American government. Anyone who watched those horrible hours unfold should have been galvanized to rebuke these insurrectionists in the strongest terms. Instead, some members whom I believed to be leaders in the defense of the nation chose to put political theater ahead of the defense of the Constitution and the Republic.
Schmid appears to have reached the same conclusion I did yesterday, but Schmid lived through it a lot more directly than I did. Having a mob descend all around you must be a clarifying experience, or should be, anyway. And it sounds as though Schmid might still have toughed it out had Republicans not returned and continued with their illegitimate challenge to certified and undisputed electors from states Joe Biden won.
Nor is Schmid alone in the chamber, at least in the sense of putting the blame where it belongs. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) announced this afternoon that he plans to vote to impeach Trump, becoming the first Republican to support the effort. At the same time, Katko will oppose the vote urging Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, arguing that it’s Congress’ job to hold the president accountable:
Full Katko statement on impeachment pic.twitter.com/oPfMzQnyzM
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) January 12, 2021
“By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen,” Katko writes, “the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division. When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th,” Katko continues, “he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.” With that in mind, Katko essentially endorses Schmid’s point about Katko’s colleagues — who not only pandered to Trump’s baseless allegations prior to the riot, but then acted on them anyway after getting chased out of the Capitol.
It’s an absolute disgrace. The leadership of the Republican Party should resign in embarrassment, and new leadership dedicated to strengthening our republican institutions should emerge as a counterweight to those pandering to the mob. Perhaps this exercise will separate the wheat from the chaff.
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