“John Rhodes and Hugh Scott hadn't been brave to stand up to Nixon. Yet it mattered when they did,” said William Kristol, a conservative writer and activist who was critical of Mr. Trump, referring to the top two. Republicans in Congress who played a critical role in convincing President Richard M. Nixon to step down in August 1974.
Still, none of the outgoing Trump officials seem to be making the kind of self-sacrifice remembered in some famous layoffs. Cyrus Vance stepped down as Secretary of State in 1980 in protest at President Jimmy Carter's failed secret mission to rescue American hostages in Iran. Two senior officials from the Department of Health and Human Services stopped in anger over President Bill Clinton's decision to sign a sweeping 1996 reform bill. Trump's Prime Minister of Defense Jim Mattis quit after Mr Trump's sudden decision to remove US troops from northeastern Syria.
At least one Trump administration official appears to have invited his own resignation this week: Gabriel Noronha, a State Department press officer, tweeted on Wednesday that Mr. Trump was "completely unfit to remain in office, and must go". In what could come as no surprise to him, Mr. Noronha was fired the next day.
Others are openly considering their plans, including national security adviser, Robert C. O'Brien, who tweeted condemnations of Wednesday's riot. Mr. O'Brien, who has spoken to friends about a future candidacy, would stay on for stability's sake, but may have enjoyed reputation gains among Trump critics after a slew of news leaks thrown him into a Hamlet. -like role about his future.
In the cases of Ms. DeVos and Ms. Chao, some critics complained that by leaving, they were missing the opportunity to do something far more consequence: make a possible attempt, along with other disgusting cabinet officials, to invoke the 25th Amendment and Mr. Trump of his presidential duties.
"At this late stage, dismissal does little more than serve as late attempts at self-preservation," said New York Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. wrote on Twitter. "If Sec. Chao objects so deeply to yesterday's events, she should work the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment – not relinquish the seat that allows her to do so."
Alyssa Farah, who left as White House communications director weeks before the deadly chaos in the Capitol, said it was clear then that Mr. Trump's post-selection behavior was unbearable.
"I made the decision to step down in December because I saw where this was going," she told Politico in an interview published Friday.