Don’t Mess With the Constitution

“The house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in.”
–A.E. Houseman, English poet (1859-1936)

Trump touched the Constitution, a third rail that set off political sparks in both parties.

“A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump posted on his Truth Social media website.

He meant, of course, the 2020 election that he has been saying was “rigged” since before it even started.

Was his latest diatribe Saturday a serious bid to suspend or delete the document that is the cornerstone of America’s founding document? A wild, deranged, unhinged, off-the-wall last ditch desperate attempt to claim the presidency?

Reminder: This old dude of a loser is running for president for a third time, a do-over.

Has “Trumpty-Dumpty,” as the New York Post labeled him, really have a great fall and hit his head? What prompted him to post such a beyond-the-pale statement on the misnomer of his social media website, Truth Social? If sane, he must know that such a proposal would be dead on arrival in Congress.

Or did he post that because he hasn’t been mentioned in the media for a few days and he’s just starving for attention?

Or is it his narcissism that has gone foul because of the election losses of people he backed in the midterms, a loss of his influence as well?

Or is he trying to assert himself as the leader of the Republican Party, what’s left of it as a respectable institution, in the face of its poor showing in those elections and criticism and appeals from party members and their donors to move on to someone else, perhaps Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida? He’s a burr under Trump.

Or is it because lots of folks appear to be fed up with trying to corral a Trump who has dinner with known racist and antisemite Nick Fuentes. Not much else could haver caused such disgust among American Jews and Republicans.

If Trump wanted attention, he got it in spades.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters. “And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.” Ouch.

John Bolton, who served as Trump’s third national security adviser, also condemned the former president’s posting, “No American conservative can agree with Donald Trump’s call to suspend the Constitution because of the results of the 2020 election. And all real conservatives must oppose his 2024 campaign for president.”

The Democrats also chimed in, but politely. Hakkim Jeffries, the new House Democratic leader, said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump made “a strange statement, but the Republicans are going to have to work out their issues” with him “and decide whether they’re going to break from him and return to some semblance of reasonableness.”

Trump’s rant in full:

“So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHHTFUL 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. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

Seems to me that “our great Founders” would not have been condoned Trump’s mercurial behavior. He probably couldn’t have gotten elected president in those days.

President Joe Biden declined to comment and left it to White House spokesman Andrew Bates to bad mouth the Republican Party leader. Yes, he’s still head of the party.

Trump’s words, Bates said in a statement Saturday, are “anathema to the soul of our nation, and should be universally condemned.

“You cannot only love America when you win. The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail.

“It‘s the ultimate monument to all Americans who have given their lives to defeat self-serving despots that abused their power and trampled on fundamental rights.”

Trump deserves the verbal and written beatings he’s getting for all of the abuse he has foisted on the American people, both in and out of office.

That includes his non-handling of the COVID-19 virus that he dismissed because he couldn’t be bothered, maybe being responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths. That cannot and should not be forgotten.

And then, out of office, his constant and repeated refusals to concede his election loss to Biden, which would have been the right thing to do. Trump has treated the Constitution with the same irresponsible abandon that moved him to take home classified documents.

Trump should heed the symbolism on politician Christopher Gadsden’s yellow and black DONT TREAD ON ME Revolutionary War flag with its coiled rattlesnake ready to strike: freedom, liberty and don’t step on me.

Richard C. Gross, who covered war and peace in the Middle East and was foreign editor of United Press International, served as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.