Donald Trump called for the “termination” of the US Constitution in order to return him to power and throw out the results of the 2020 election, in an outburst on his social media platform Truth Social.
Trump was responding to a report by new Twitter owner Elon Musk that the social media site had blocked distribution in October 2020 of a New York Post report on Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden. Trump claimed the actions by Twitter had decided the outcome of the presidential election.
“Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? 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, adding, “Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”
Both the Post article and the decision of Twitter to block its distribution for several days are well known and were widely reported in the days leading up to the November 2020 election. Trump’s claim that this constituted some sort of decisive media and FBI intervention to affect the outcome of the vote is not only fraudulent, it is absurd.
It comes after two years in which Trump has claimed that the vote-counting itself was rigged, either by ballot-stuffing by Democratic Party operatives or through the use of software that switched Trump votes to Biden. The Hunter Biden “suppression” claim has not been part of the “stolen election” narrative, so Trump’s sudden elevation of the issue has a certain bizarre and desperate quality.
Far more important than the particular trigger is the content of Trump’s declaration that the Constitution should be set aside to restore him to power, and the response to it in official Washington, both from Republicans and Democrats and in the corporate-controlled media.
In one sense, Trump’s reference to the Constitution amounts to an admission that his demand in January 2021 that Vice President Pence set aside the electoral votes for Biden in six “battleground states” that Biden narrowly won was unconstitutional. Pence refused to either award the six states’ electoral votes to Trump or set them aside entirely, claiming, correctly even though at the last minute, that he had no authority under the Constitution to do so.
As a brazen liar caught in the act of lying, Trump now says: Yes, what I wanted violated the Constitution. So what? This demonstrates that in the final days of his presidency, Trump was deliberately conspiring against the democratic rights of the American people and seeking to extend his presidency by becoming a president-dictator who would inevitably seek to suppress all opposition to his rule by force and violence.
Trump’s open declaration of his intention to “terminate” the US Constitution is of historic importance. It goes without saying that no American president has ever used such language. All 45 US presidents, including Trump, began their terms in office by taking an oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution, the basic document on which all American political institutions are founded.
The United States is a political entity that was not formed on the basis of ethnicity or common language, or a slow and gradual historical evolution. It was established through the American Revolution, which inaugurated a new era in global, not just American, development and became the first country to be founded on the basis of a written constitution, adopted in 1789.
To have a former president, who himself swore to uphold it, now declaring that it must be “terminated” in order to restore himself to power, indicates that capitalist democracy in America is now in a state of terminal crisis. Either the fascist forces for which Trump speaks, and which increasingly dominate the Republican Party, will establish a capitalist dictatorship of the most monstrous character, or the working class will take power as part of the world socialist revolution. There is no middle ground.
Equally significant is the response of the Republican and Democratic politicians in Washington. Several Republicans congressmen appeared on Sunday morning television interview programs. All sought to evade any direct response to media questioning about Trump’s statement about the Constitution.
David Joyce and Mike Turner, both “moderates” from Ohio, and Mike Lawler, a newly elected “moderate” from New York, all disassociated themselves from Trump’s statement and even criticized it, but they all refused to draw any political conclusions from it. Joyce declared explicitly that he would vote for Trump if he was the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.
Pressed on how he could vote for a candidate who had called for terminating the US Constitution, Joyce replied blandly that Trump said many things that he disagreed with.
No conservative or Freedom Caucus Republicans appeared on the interview programs. But Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, the likely future Speaker of the House, did appear on Maria Bartiromo’s program on Fox News. In the course of eight minutes, he denounced what Bartiromo called “collusion between the media, the FBI, all these forces working against us,” apparently a reference to the Hunter Biden issue.
Bartiromo did not ask and McCarthy did not volunteer an opinion on Trump’s response to the same issue: that the US Constitution should be overturned to restore him to power. Instead, McCarthy revealed that he will call for the establishment of a House Select Committee on China, with Republican and Democratic members, to investigate the claims of systematic penetration by agents of the Chinese Communist Party into US business and government circles.
The Democratic Party’s response to Trump’s declaration was passive and perfunctory. The White House issued a brief statement by a junior press spokesman, which concluded, “You cannot only love America when you win.”
At a campaign appearance Saturday night in Boston, before a group of Democratic Party financial contributors, Biden stuck to the script and made no mention of Trump’s comments.
Democrats who appeared on Sunday television interview programs, including the new trio of top leaders in the House of Representatives, criticized Trump’s remarks but reiterated their desire to work with the new Republican majority in the House, including prospective Speaker McCarthy.
In other words, the Democrats criticize the fascist party leader, Trump, but want to cozy up to the congressional leadership of that same party, including McCarthy, Mitch McConnell and Elise Stefanik.
In the meantime, Biden and the congressional Democrats demonstrated their real priorities, pushing through legislation to outlaw a railroad strike and impose the companies’ terms on 115,000 railroaders. Next up for the Democratic-controlled lame duck session of Congress is the National Defense Authorization Act, which will propose more than $900 billion for the Pentagon, including billions more for the US-supported NATO war against Russia in Ukraine.