(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

Talk about rats fleeing a sinking ship.

Actually, the exodus in Washington after the storming of the Capitol yesterday is more reminiscent of the heady days of the French Revolution or the fall of the Nazis, where collaborators switched sides just as their necks looked vulnerable.

Transport secretary Elaine Chao became the first cabinet member to resign this morning after various low level administration figures jumped soon after the riots began.

More resignations are expected throughout the day.

They almost seem to think they’re doing something principled — even though there are only 13 days to go before they would be out anyway.

It seems a bit late to be suddenly growing a spine or a conscience.

The fact is, they’re only taking action after their loyal troops stormed the barricades and got far too close for comfort. They got to see close up that these “Trump supporters” are an ugly rabble at best, and domestic terrorists at worst.

In one video filmed inside the chamber during the siege, terrified officials are seen cowering under the seats and being told to take off their congressional pins so they could not be identified as politicians. 

It didn’t matter if you were Team Red or Blue — the baying mob was after them all.

Their fear was well founded given the sickening pictures of at least one protester inside the building holding a swathe of cable ties which presumably were to be used to take hostages.

There had been plenty of warning.

CNN interviewed one young Republican congresswoman who had only been sworn in on Sunday but was so scared for her safety after being threatened and abused on the streets that she sent her children home on Monday for their safety.

The irony of the Chao resignation, claiming she was “deeply troubled in a way I cannot put aside”, is that she’s the wife of Mitch McConnell. Yes, that Mitch McConnell — the soon to be Senate minority leader, chief congressional enabler to Donald Trump and the politician who has singlehandedly wreaked so much havoc on democracy.

The nepotism and cronyism that made them all so smug for the past four years is now turning into fear for their future. McConnell’s late conversion to defending democratic institutions should not mitigate his treachery.

Ditto that brown-noser extraordinaire Senator Lindsay Graham, who finally announced he was done with Trump yesterday. “Count me out. Enough is enough,” he declared in his usual flamboyant style as he voted to certify Joe Biden. 

Other hypocritical resignation speeches that rivalled Chao’s yesterday included that of former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Most hadn’t realised he was even still there after being sacked by Trump some time ago. In fact he had been given a non-job as envoy to Northern Ireland, so his time was well and truly up.

Among the other flunkies rushing the exit are the first lady’s chief of staff, the White House social secretary and the deputy White House press secretary. A more important departure was long-time deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger.

You don’t even have to resign — apparently you can still be fired, as State Department official Gabriel Noronha found this morning when he was dismissed for an overnight tweet calling the president “unfit” for office.

Nor is it just officials belatedly finding their balls. Facebook has finally banned Trump from the platform indefinitely — which is as useless as Fox News now desperately trying to look fair and balanced.

As other cabinet members contemplate the rodent route off the Trump Titanic, it’s worth remembering they might actually be needed to invoke the 25th amendment to remove him.

But as if they are now going to put the good of the country before themselves at this late hour.

Peter Fray

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