Ex-US President: Trump's ambivalent relationship to the US Constitution

Donald Trump has always viewed the United States Constitution as a kind of modeling clay that he can mold and change as he pleases.

Ex-US President: Trump's ambivalent relationship to the US Constitution

Donald Trump has always viewed the United States Constitution as a kind of modeling clay that he can mold and change as he pleases.

Sometimes he claimed that the constitution gave him the right "to do what I want as President", at other times he ascribed to himself "complete power" to issue pardons - including himself. Also wanted the birthright established in 1868 he single-handedly overturned, as if his office were accompanied by a mandate for the freedom of fools.

Trump never seemed particularly interested in the fact that the basic political and legal order in the USA is not a negotiable set of rules that is only subject to the interpretation of the President. "I got as far as the Fourth Amendment," said Sam Nunberg, the political strategist who was tasked with introducing Trump to the Constitution early in his term. Then the then president rolled his eyes unperturbed. It is not known whether Trump asked for the remaining 23 amendments to the constitution.

In a way, Trump has now formulated a demand to simply override the constitution (the star reported). On Saturday, he once again spread the myth that he had been deprived of his second term in office in 2020 by electoral fraud. "A massive fraud of this nature and magnitude allows for the repeal of all rules, regulations and articles, even those in the Constitution," Trump concluded, in his usual idiosyncratic reading of the law.

Simply suspending the constitution because it just doesn't seem opportune is at least remarkable by Trump's standards and consequently caused widespread indignation in Washington. After all, Trump announced a few weeks ago that he wanted to make a third attempt at the presidency - whose election winner ultimately took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend" the constitution. Oh well.

In any case, Trump's critics saw themselves confirmed once again. "No honest person can now deny that Trump is an enemy of the Constitution," Republican Liz Cheney said on Sunday. Trump "hates the Constitution," said Adam Kinziger, also a Republican congressman. "Not a single conservative can legitimately support him and not a single supporter can be called a conservative," said Kinziger. "That's crazy."

Kinziger and Cheney are proven opponents of the former president and have once again attracted attention with wordy criticism of him. Both will leave Congress in January, so they have practically nothing left to lose. It is therefore more revealing who is (still) keeping a low profile among the Republicans.

For example, there is Kevin McCarthy, who is currently still the minority leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, but wants to be elected majority leader of his group after the reconstitution in January. For this he is also dependent on votes from the Trump camp, which in return wants to wring all kinds of concessions from him (read more about this here). Although McCarthy announced that he would read "every single word of the constitution" in the hallways of the House of Representatives when the Republicans hold the legislative gavel again, he has not yet commented on Trump's furious demand.

Other Republicans, like Rep. Mike Lawler, are also refusing to testify, to a certain extent. "Well obviously I don't support that," he said on CNN. "The Constitution was created for a reason, to protect the rights of all Americans." However, one must now "look ahead," said Lawler, who did not say a critical word about Trump in his outlook.

MP Dave Joyce also exercised demonstrative restraint. In an interview with ABC News, he dodged the question of whether he could still support Trump three times. The fourth time, he slipped out the line that he would support any Republican nominee for president. Although it could also be someone who wants to suspend the constitution? "Well, he (Trump) says a lot of things, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen," Joyce replied to the moderator.

Trump still has a hard core of dedicated supporters who seem willing to follow him unconditionally. This was also shown by the results in the congressional elections, which fell well short of Republican expectations but nevertheless illustrated his power factor.

Many candidates who supported Trump during the election campaign made it into the House of Representatives or the Senate - although many of them, especially in contested and crucial states, were bitterly disappointed at the ballot box. Nevertheless, conservative media in particular, such as the Washington Examiner, show him a success rate of up to 89 percent.

At least that suggests that Trump is still rallying a loyal constituency behind him. In November, 30 percent of Republicans said in a poll for NBC News that they would support Trump more than the party as a whole -- a number that was around 50 percent in the last two years of Trump's presidency.

Is Trump's grip on the Grand Old Party loosening? That's according to a recent survey by Marquette Law School, which finds him repeatedly falling in popularity - while Florida's re-elected governor Ron DeSantis, who is being considered a possible rival in the Republican presidential race, is gaining again.

Just recently, one of his advisors was quoted as saying that whether or not Trump is involved in the White House race is "pretty irrelevant" to DeSantis - it wouldn't matter to DeSantis if he also wants to run. "He has the ability to rule for the next few months while Trump has to try to convince people he still has the skills to do so." It's "almost as if he could watch Trump hit himself."

The premise: Trump's tight grip on the party may ease after the Republicans' lackluster midterm election performance as more voters grow weary of his endless rhetoric about the allegedly stolen 2020 presidential election and the constant controversy surrounding his persona.

Of course, there is no lack of controversy. After a joint dinner with the proven racist Nick Fuentes and the rapper Kanye West, who recently expressed his appreciation for Adolf Hitler, Trump was verbally counted on by well-known Republicans. Then the former president also tried to join forces with the rioters responsible for the deadly storming of the Capitol in January 2021. "People have been treated unconstitutionally and very, very unfairly in my opinion," said Trump - who, as we now know, actually thinks the constitution is obsolete.

The White House around the head of the household, Joe Biden, therefore considered Trump's most recent statements with clear words. "You can't love America only when you win," spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement, "The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed liberty and the rule of law in our great country. The Constitution brings the American people together — regardless of party — and elected leaders swear to uphold it."

Sources: Axios, New York Times, Marquette Law School, Politico, New York Magazine, BBC, Business Insider, ABC News, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, NBC News, Wall Street Journal

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