Editor’s Note: Ashley Pratte Oates, an independent and a former Republican, is a communications strategist, political commentator and a board member of Republican Women for Progress (which endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and President Joe Biden in 2020). The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.
Many in the political class who have criticized former President Donald Trump as a threat to democracy, especially after the deadly Capitol insurrection, have been proved right once again.
In a post on his social media site, Truth Social, over the weekend, Trump called for all “rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” to be terminated to overturn the 2020 election and put him back in power. He was responding to the release of internal Twitter emails showing how the social media platform’s executives debated before the 2020 election about allowing links to a New York Post story about material reportedly found on the laptop of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son.
Those of us who’ve taken a stand against Trump feel vindicated by this truly jarring post after years of being called alarmists. But it’s a sad day for democracy when a former US President is calling for the termination of our nation’s founding document and principles.
Given that Trump swore an oath to protect, defend and uphold the Constitution at his 2017 inauguration, this should give us all pause as he runs for the presidency again.
Not surprisingly, many of those within the GOP leadership remain silent on rebuking Trump for this, just as they remained silent after the January 6, 2021, insurrection and instead used their platforms to defend Trump’s dangerous narrative that the 2020 election was stolen.
Former Vice President Mike Pence told a South Carolina radio station on Monday that every federal official takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, according to The Hill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said in January 2021 that Trump “provoked” the mob at the Capitol, said he plans to address the former President’s comments on the Constitution at his weekly press conference Tuesday. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican, told CNN he disagrees with Trump’s latest remarks but stopped short of saying whether they disqualify him from running in 2024. Another member of the GOP leadership team, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, called Trump’s social media post “certainly irresponsible.”
Of course, many Republicans would be the first to tell you that their party platform is based on defending the Constitution.
But rather than draw a line in the sand and cut ties with Trump, knowing the dangerous threat he poses, they continue to try to curry favor with him while putting the safety of the American people and the best interests of our democracy in jeopardy.
At every turn, Trump has shown he is willing to dismantle democracy to remain in power, proving that he is truly unfit for the nation’s highest office. From his request that his own vice president cast aside the Constitution to thwart the will of the people to his setting the stage for the protest that led to the storming of the Capitol, it’s clear that Trump has always been against the founding principles of our country.
Trump has acted in ways that were despotic and authoritarian at times, but this takes the cake. He has shown his true colors; he stands against our nation and only for his own ego.
“Dems in disarray” was the trope many once used to describe the internal struggles of the Democratic Party, but now after the 2022 midterms, it appears as though Republicans are reeling after failing to produce a so-called red wave.
Rather than condemn Trump and make it clear he will not be their party’s presidential nominee in 2024, Republicans are grasping at straws in their efforts not to fall out of favor with the former President.
Without its own platform, the Republican Party has embraced the dangerous anti-democratic platform of Trump because of his ability to capture the GOP base, which leaders view as vital to regain power and win back the presidency.
There are dangerous consequences ahead for our country if Trump continues stumping on the campaign trail and becomes the GOP’s nominee and, even worse, is reelected. He will likely use his platform to dismantle democracy, condone violence and thwart the will of the people. He’s made it clear he will stop at nothing to get his way, will make meritless accusations and pursue baseless investigations to further his own agenda.
The very principles of freedom that our Founding Fathers embraced and preserved are now officially under attack as Trump pursues his effort to bring America under his tyrannical rule.
Enough is enough. It’s high time that all of the GOP’s leaders condemn Trump and the scourge he’s been in our nation’s history — undoubtedly, the Founders would agree.