Here's why it's time for Republicans to threaten Trump with his favorite epithet -- 'you're fired': NYT columnist
Donald Trump and House GOP members in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday (Screen capture)

New York Times columnist explained on Christmas Eve why it's time for Republicans to threaten to fire Trump -- and why last week's political events were a "watershed moment."

"Up to now I have not favored removing President Trump from office. I felt strongly that it would be best for the country that he leave the way he came in, through the ballot box," columnist Thomas Friedman wrote. "But last week was a watershed moment for me, and I think for many Americans, including some Republicans."

Between the president's unilateral (and ill-advised) military pullout from Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis' subsequent resignation in protest and his carried-out threat to shut down the government over border wall funding, Friedman said he found his doubt reached a low point.

"It was the moment when you had to ask whether we really can survive two more years of Trump as president, whether this man and his demented behavior — which will get only worse as the Mueller investigation concludes — are going to destabilize our country, our markets, our key institutions and, by extension, the world," the columnist wrote. "And therefore his removal from office now has to be on the table."

The GOP's "only responsible choice" is to intervene with an ultimatum, Friedman wrote, that "makes clear" to Trump that if he doesn't shape up, "the party’s leadership will have no choice but to press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment."

"It has to start with Republicans, given both the numbers needed in the Senate and political reality," the columnist added. "Removing this president has to be an act of national unity as much as possible — otherwise it will tear the country apart even more."

Friedman admitted that the GOP under Trump would find such an action "very difficult," "but the time is long past for it to rise to confront this crisis of American leadership."

Read the entire column via the Times.