Trump’s call for ‘termination’ of Constitution draws rebukes
By Maggie Astor
An extraordinary anti-democratic statement from former President Donald Trump, suggesting the “termination” of the Constitution to overturn the 2020 election, drew a degree of bipartisan condemnation over the weekend, with a flood from Democrats and a trickle from Republicans.
But it did not appear to do any more than similar past actions in prompting Republican officials to rule out supporting Trump in 2024.
Inaccurately describing the contents of a just-released report about Twitter’s moderation decisions during the 2020 campaign, Trump again demanded that the 2020 election be overturned or rerun, for the first time explicitly calling to set aside the supreme law of the land.
“A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” he wrote in a post Saturday on his social network, Truth Social.
Trump was responding to a report Friday night about Twitter employees’ internal deliberations over the company’s decision in 2020 to block links to a New York Post article that described emails found on a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son. The report, a Twitter thread by writer Matt Taibbi, also criticized the fact that the Biden campaign had a back channel to ask Twitter to remove certain tweets, although it noted that Republicans had such a back channel, too.
The explicit suggestion of suspending the Constitution was astonishing even by the standards of Trump, who has spent the past two years spreading lies about the 2020 election, which he lost, and promoting various illegal mechanisms for overturning it.
Less than three weeks ago, Trump announced a third bid for the presidency, a job in which the winner takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution.
“Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation and should be universally condemned,” Andrew Bates, a White House spokesperson, said in a statement.
Several Republicans did reject the comments. “Well, obviously I don’t support that,” Rep.-elect Mike Lawler, a Republican who unseated Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in a suburban New York district, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “The Constitution is set for a reason, to protect the rights of every American.”
But far more remained silent, including Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader who hopes to become speaker when Republicans take control of the chamber in January, and who made a point last month of declaring that Republicans would read the Constitution aloud on the House floor on their first day in charge. Two press representatives for McCarthy did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning, Rep. David Joyce of Ohio illustrated Republicans’ unyielding loyalty to Trump.
Joyce dodged three questions from the anchor, George Stephanopoulos, about Trump’s comments and whether he would support Trump in 2024, saying that he believed Republicans would have a large field of candidates and that he wanted to focus on making the most of the party’s new House majority.
When Stephanopoulos pressed him a fourth time, Joyce said, “I will support whoever the Republican nominee is.” With visible discomfort, Joyce then sought to defend that commitment after Stephanopoulos asked incredulously, “You can’t come out against someone who’s for suspending the Constitution?”
“Well, he says a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ever going to happen,” Joyce said. But Trump has followed through on many things that other Republicans insisted he did not really mean, including his effort to block the certification of Biden’s victory, which culminated in Trump supporters’ storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.