Donald Trump’s call to end the Constitution over the weekend was terrifying, but also long-awaited.
Trump, a former Republican candidate and future Republican president, has long admired and defended the Constitution with heroic words.For as long, however, he has demonstrated a shallow understanding of the document — rarely going far beyond its maximalist interpretation of the Second Amendment and the disjointed views of the First Amendment, especially Advocated the views of the Constitution as more of a source of advice than the supreme power of the U.S. government.
Trump’s view of the Constitution is a lot like the flag he physically hugged at the 2020 conservative summit. This is what he said “I love you” at the conservative summit in 2020. A useful prop for brilliant praise, but ultimately passive and lifeless, easily moved to the side. .
Posting on his social media site Truth Social over the weekend, Trump once again falsely claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. “A massive fraud of this kind and magnitude allows the termination of all rules, regulations and articles, even those in the Constitution,” he wrote. ‘didn’t want or tolerate a false and rigged election!’ You’re actually trying to convince Americans of what you said. ?)
No one can guess where Trump got this idea of termination, but it’s almost certain that he didn’t understand it by reading the Constitution (and given his other reading habits). , he doesn’t seem likely to be reading learned commentary). Throughout his political career, Trump has often incorporated his policies into founding documents. “You know, I believe in our constitution much more than most people,” he said in 2020. .
But he rarely speaks about the Constitution at a deeper level. When he discusses it, he’s mostly talking about the Second Amendment. In 2016, the constitutional page on his website was dominated by discussions of gun rights. He also occasionally speaks about the First Amendment right to religious liberty, but this is almost always in the context of Christian rights.
Then-White House adviser Don McGahn said in 2017 that “Trump’s vision of justice can be summed up in two words: ‘originalism’ and ‘textualism,'” which McGahn and his views is the sum of Fellow members of the Federalist Society, for whom Trump has made the choice of judges, than Trump, who offers little hint of his personal judicial philosophy. For years, the cliché of his stump speeches was that he appointed judges to interpret the Constitution literally. The closest he offered to an explicit endorsement of originalism was in a scripted 2019 speech honoring former Attorney General Edwin Meath III, in which he offered their own personal and political views. . “
Mr Trump also claims his opponents do not respect the document. “They want to destroy our constitution, undermine our military, and eliminate the values that built this magnificent country,” he said in 2019. Overthrowing the Constitution and the Founding of America. “
The cynicism and hypocrisy of this allegation is easily understandable in light of this weekend’s Truth Social post, but the call to suspend the Constitution is the most natural of Trump’s tried-and-true view that the Constitution is a set of guidelines. It’s just an explicit expression. More than a binding rulebook.
The first notable example was during the 2016 Republican presidential primary, when Trump called for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States, suggesting they might need to carry special ID cards. (Trump’s vision of religious freedom apparently applies only to certain religious traditions.) Smoothly veered from “mainstream media wanting to abandon constitution” to making their case. To give it up under certain circumstances. “We believe in the Constitution more than anyone else. But we cannot allow people to use or abuse our rights. We cannot let people kill us. They want to kill us, they want to destroy us, we can’t let it happen, we can’t let it happen.” I was even more outspoken about the idea that I might disable the . But it doesn’t mean that we have the right to commit suicide as a country, right? “
Once he was elected, Trump’s sense of the Constitution as essentially a proposition only grew. The articulation of was surprisingly candid. In 2019, he told a conservative conference that certain sections of the Constitution give him unlimited powers. There are rules,” he said. “But I won’t talk about it.” In fact, Article 2 merely sets out the roles and duties of the executive branch. If Trump had actually read it, his interpretation would make no sense.
Trump has faced constitutional problems multiple times during his presidency, including repeated defeats in court and attempts by Congress to withhold funds allocated from Ukraine, which was his first. led to the impeachment of But we rarely had the opportunity to discuss the actual Constitution outside of obscure terms. (“Our Constitution is the product of centuries of tradition, wisdom, and experience.”) When the advent of coronavirus forced us to step into the question of federalism, it did not go well. did.
At a press conference in April 2020, Trump was asked about state governments making their own decisions about lockdowns and masking. “I want the governor to be able to make decisions without overturning them because that’s how it should be done from a constitutional point of view,” he said. Yes, I have the right to do it, but I’d rather it.You can call it “Federalist” or you can call it “Constitution” But I call it “Constitution”. I would rather let them make the decisions. “
This sums up Trump’s incoherent constitutional philosophy. The Constitution offers a first choice, but if for some reason you don’t like it, I’m happy to ditch it. It foreshadowed his approach to the 2020 election. First, he tried constitutional remedies—the judicial system—and pursued false fraud claims. But when that failed (because his claims were false), he came to call for the constitution to be completely scrapped.
On January 6, 2021, during a rally in Washington before the riots, Trump made a last-minute effort to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to help overthrow the election. “Suppose you don’t do it. Somebody says, ‘You have to follow the constitution,'” he said. “And you are because you are defending our country and defending our constitution.”
The revolutionary concept behind the United States is that the country and the constitution are one and the same. For Trump, the country exists separately from and above the rule of law. “Only he can solve America’s problems,” Trump said. He claims he cares about the Constitution, but as always, Trump is sticking to just one thing: his own interests.