The Constitution is more important than any former president

Trump Legal Troubles
FILE – Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nev., on Oct. 8, 2022. Closing arguments are slated for Thursday, Dec. 1, in Trump’s company’s criminal tax fraud case. Prosecutors and defense lawyers say those could take seven hours or more. Those projections speak to the complexity of the case, which stems from longtime Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg’s 15-year scheme to avoid taxes on company-paid perks including an apartment and luxury cars. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas, Pool, File) José Luis Villegas/AP

The Constitution is more important than any former president

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Now that former President Donald Trump has called for the suspension of the Constitution when it suits his ends, every elected Republican should ostracize him.

Nobody who advocates the “termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” as Trump did over the weekend, should hold public office. Ever. A public official in the United States must swear to uphold the Constitution, and it is impossible to swear honestly to uphold something you say should be ignored.

DONALD TRUMP’S POLITICAL DEATH WISH

If there can be anything worse than the lawless methods Trump embraces, he managed to do worse by providing a pernicious and massive lie as justification for his would-be-despotic shredding of the Constitution. Trump claimed (in all caps and with gross exaggeration) that there was “MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party.” Because of that, he repeated his malicious lie that he was the “RIGHTFUL WINNER” in 2020 and said the remedy must either be to have some authority just “declare” him the president or else have a “NEW ELECTION.” Either way, he explicitly said somehow the country should just “throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT.”

This Trump eruption is a call for tinpot tyranny. Following up on his repeated verbal embraces (and pledges of legal support and pardons) for the Capitol Hill rioters, whom he instigated to try to stop a sacred vote-counting procedure while they called for the execution of his own vice president, this new verbal tack is a dangerous provocation. It is a provocation based on the flat-out lie, mathematically and judicially identified as such beyond all shadows of doubt, that somehow the 2020 election was stolen from him.

When someone who once held the most powerful post in the free world acts and speaks so repeatedly in ways designed, with malice aforethought, to undermine the very framework of our (small “r”) republican government, well, then, it’s time to believe he is serious. It deserves careful pushback, not silence.

If the vast number of Republicans show they are no longer afraid of criticizing Trump when asked about his dangerous statements, they might attract a second look from all those independents who, despite marked dissatisfaction with the current Democratic leadership, still refused to vote for Republicans in November because the party was too morally compromised by Trump.

With Trump having so recently dined with virulent antisemites (and refused to apologize), and with his campaign to delegitimize constitutional processes, Trump is a menace to the constitutional order. As was shown in the Capitol riots, a subset of his followers are willing to act destructively when he speaks so recklessly. Republican officials should make clear his statements are unacceptable.

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