Trump suggestion of ‘termination’ of Constitution draws few GOP rebukes

Donald Trump’s suggestion this weekend that the US Constitution should be terminated in response to his baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen drew a largely muted response from Republicans, the latest sign that many GOP officials are reluctant to go even tackled the former president. to challenge the basic orders of the country.

Trump’s online posts on Saturday – including a message in which he wrote “FRAUDS WANT TO GET HANDED WITHOUT NOTICE!” — was a significant increase in his attacks on American institutions and democratic norms, one that scholars said should be taken as a sign of how far he is willing to go to regain power.

“A Massive Fraud of this nature and magnitude allows for the elimination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump posted on the Truth Social platform. “Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not tolerate, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

But only a handful of Republican lawmakers have joined the White House and Democrats in criticizing Trump’s declarations. Representatives for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not respond to requests for comment Sunday.

Last month, McCarthy announced that Republicans would read every word of the Constitution aloud on the House floor when the GOP takes control of the chamber in January.

Several GOP lawmakers who were asked on political demonstrations Sunday about Trump’s latest missile said they disagreed with the former president. However, most were hesitant to say they would oppose Trump if he were the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee.

Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio), chairman of the Republican Governance Group, avoided a direct answer when asked on ABC’s “This Week” about Trump’s comments, saying he “wasn’t in the habit of speaking out on his tweet du jour” when Trump was in office. When pressed by host George Stephanopoulos, Joyce said he would “support whoever the Republicans nominate” — but he didn’t think Trump “would be able to get there.”

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“Well, first of all, no – he has no ability to suspend the Constitution,” Joyce said. “You know, he says a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever going to happen.”

Laurence H. Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, said there was a legitimate, intellectual debate among constitutional scholars about whether the flaws in the nation’s founding documents are so fundamental that there should be a new constitutional convention.

However, what Trump is engaged in is “not debate, but destruction,” Tribe said in an interview. “What he is doing is openly trembling with despair that anything that stands for omnipotence should be swept away.”

Trump last month announced his re-election campaign for president, after several Trump-backed candidates lost key races in the midterm elections, raising complex questions within the Republican Party about how to relate to the former president to navigate.

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While Tribe acknowledged that Trump has said a lot of scary things that shouldn’t always be highlighted, he doesn’t believe that this latest statement should be brushed off, especially after Trump’s baseless claims about the 2020 election lead to pro-Trump forces storming the US Capitol. January 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory.

“It is a specific statement. The quiet part says loudly — that he has no respect for the country, for anything other than himself,” said Tribe. “This is like saying, ‘You want to see a riot? I will show you a rebellion. I’ll tear the whole thing up.’ “

Trump’s defenders moved on Sunday to play down the controversy. A Republican operative close to the former president, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, insisted the post was not advocating or calling for the abolition of the Constitution.

When asked to clarify that Trump wasn’t in the least advocating to do away with the Constitution, the operator said, “He’s comparing the unprecedented nature of Big Tech’s manipulation of the 2020 election to benefit Joe Biden the unprecedented act to terminate the Constitution,” implying without evidence that tech platforms had tipped the scales for Biden in 2020.

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Trump’s posts on Saturday came a day after Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, claimed he would reveal how Twitter was “suppressing free speech” in the run-up to the 2020 election. But his “Twitter Files ” that the tech giant was bowing to the will of the Democrats.

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Some GOP members were stronger in their comments than Trump. On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) said he “absolutely” condemned Trump’s remarks but emphasized that there was a long political process to follow before Trump could be considered a front-runner. 2024.

“I strongly disagree with the statement made by Trump. Trump has made a thousand statements, you know, that I don’t agree with,” Turner said. He added that voters are “definitely going to take into account a statement like this when evaluating a candidate.”

Trump’s comments prompted a sharp rebuke from the White House and some Democrats, as well as Republicans who have fallen from grace within their party for their longtime criticism of Trump. Representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) called Trump the the enemy of the Constitutionand Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) questioned how fellow Republicans could continue to support him.

“With the former President trying to throw away the constitution, not one conservative can legitimately support him, and not one supporter can be called a conservative,” Kinzinger tweeted Sunday, tagging in his message Twitter handles McCarthy, as well as Reps. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “This is crazy. Trump hates the constitution.”

Congressman-elect Mike Lawler (RN.Y.) echoed many other Republicans in their responses to Trump, saying it was generally time to look forward, rather than re-legitimize the 2020 election.

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“The Constitution was established for a reason, to protect the rights of all Americans. And so I can’t endorse it for sure [Trump’s] language or that sentiment,” Lawler said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think it would be well advised for the former president to focus on the future if he is going to run for president again.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who will become the Democratic minority leader in January, dismissed Trump’s comments as another “extraordinary” statement from the former president and ultimately an identity crisis for the GOP.

“I thought it was a strange statement, but the Republicans are going to have to work out their issues with the former president and decide if they are going to break away from him and return to some rationality or continue to lean into extremism . , not just Trump, but Trumpism,” Jeffries said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Several top Republicans — including former vice president Mike Pence — issued rare criticism of Trump recently after he dined with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, who has a history of anti-Semitic remarks. both of them.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said he believed Trump “probably” realizes the dinner crossed a line but was hesitant to blame Trump or his rhetoric for a rise in anti-Semitism. He instead blame social media for increasing such divisions.

“There are many, many blessings of the internet age, but it also comes with a curse. And polarization is the curse,” Netanyahu said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Anti-Semitism, he said, is “the oldest hatred, as I say, one of the oldest hatreds of mankind. It was wrong then, it is wrong now. But it probably has an extra life in the United States and other countries under the internet age.”

Isaac Arnsdorf, Karoun Demirjian, Toluse Olorunnipa and Missy Ryan contributed to this report.


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