Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The GOP, Not Just Trump, Own His Calls for "Terminating" the Constitution

The United States Constitution is purportedly a sacred document to Republicans. But for as much as they claim to be in awe of or inspired by the document, GOP lawmakers were tepid in their defense of the document this past week after their party's de facto leader, Donald Trump, suggested it should be terminated to suit his ends.

Last weekend, former President Donald Trump made a post on his fledgling social media site Truth Social, in which he basically stated that supposed evidence from Elon Musk on Twitter's suppression of information during the 2020 presidential election should render the results of that race invalid. Trump's solution was to run a new election or simply reinstate him into the White House — actions that he suggested required the "termination" of the Constitution.

Trump wrote:

A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.
After huge outcry over what essentially amounted to the destruction of our nation's framework of self-governance, Trump tried to walk back his comments two days later, saying that the "fake news" media had misconstrued his words. But in that same post, Trump again proposed actions that would require the complete upending of the Constitution, contradicting his assertions that he was misquoted.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Ultimately, Trump doesn't believe in the Constitution anyway — or rather, he only believes in his ridiculous interpretations of the document. Remember, as president, Trump once famously stated that Article II of the Constitution, which discusses the powers and limitations of the presidency, allowed him to do whatever he wanted, without consequence, a claim that constitutional scholars rightly scoffed at.

What's really disturbing, though, is how those comments then and his more recent ones this past week still don't appear to be enough to motivate Republicans to drop him as their leader, once and for all. Even those who do speak out about them aren't doing so in a real forceful way.

Mitch McConnell suggested such comments are disqualifying for anyone planning to run for president (as Trump is doing), but didn't use Trump's name when expressing that sentiment. And Kevin McCarthy, the presumptive next Speaker of the House, is responding to Trump's troubling words by ignoring them — he hasn't made any statement to them as of Wednesday morning.

That's quite remarkable. Remember, this is the guy who is trying to make a point out of reading the Constitution out loud in the first hours he takes control of the House of Reprsentatives. To ignore how Trump says he wants to dismantle that document is quite telling of how McCarthy really feels about it — that his party's reading of the Constitution is a performative exercise that doesn't mean squat to him.

If the GOP can't forcefully condemn these harmful and anti-democratic suggestions from the ex-president (recognizing them as likely giving his most ardent base of followers more fodder for which they can use to oppose representative democracy in the U.S.), then the words he's uttered aren't just disqualifying for anyone running for president: the words that are unsaid are also disqualifying for GOP lawmakers or candidates in general.

Trump's words should be rejected outright. Otherwise, Republicans own them, too.

Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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