Matthew Pottinger, deputy national security adviser to the Trump administration, submitted his resignation on Wednesday after pro-Trump demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol building, delaying Congress’s counting of electoral votes and certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell are also reportedly considering resigning, according to reports. If O’Brien resigned, it is unclear who would take his place since Pottinger is no longer next in line.
Following a rally outside the White House where President Trump repeated his claim that November’s election was rife with voter fraud and insisted he had won, a large group of Trump supporters headed to the Capitol where they eventually broke past Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. The Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results, was evacuated before the mob reached the chamber. One female demonstrator was fatally shot by an unidentified member of law enforcement.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol. And we’re gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we’re probably not going to be cheering, so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong,” Trump said during his rally.
Earlier in the day, Trump had called on Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral votes of swing states whose results Trump suspects of voter fraud. Pence released a letter stating he did not plan to do so, irking Trump, who accused his vice president of lacking “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.
O’Brien later defended Pence for his decision to buck Trump’s bidding not to reject the electoral votes.
“I just spoke with Vice President Pence. He is a genuinely fine and decent man. He exhibited courage today as he did at the Capitol on 9/11 as a Congressman. I am proud to serve with him,” O’Brien said.
Several other high-profile officials resigned Wednesday following the chaos, including Stephanie Grisham, who is chief of staff and press secretary to first lady Melania Trump, and White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews.
On Thursday morning after Congress finally certified the Electoral College results, Trump committed to a peaceful transfer of power on Inauguration Day.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said.