Former President Trump’s weekend call to terminate parts of the U.S. Constitution in order to overturn the 2020 election results was met with derision and opposition by Senate Republicans on Monday.
“I think it’s ridiculous talk,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), a newly minted member of GOP leadership. “To besmirch our dedication to the Constitution is ridiculous.”
“Very inappropriate,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an ally of the former president. “The statement was inappropriate and I’m glad to see him clarify.
“Most Republicans are frustrated, but that wasn’t the answer,” he added.
Trump’s remarks came in a post on Truth Social on Saturday and bookended a crazy news cycle for the former president, even by his own lofty standards. They came only days after news emerged that he dined with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, both of whom have openly and widely made antisemitic remarks.
On Monday, Trump tried to back away from his Saturday remarks.
“The Fake News is actually trying to convince the American People that I said I wanted to ‘terminate’ the Constitution. This is simply more DISINFORMATION & LIES, just like RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, and all of their other HOAXES & SCAMS,” Trump wrote Monday afternoon, adding that he meant for “steps must be immediately taken to RIGHT THE WRONG.”
In a separate post written in all caps, Trump said that “if an election is irrefutably fraudulent, it should go to the rightful winner or, at a minimum, be redone. Where open and blatant fraud is involved, there should be no time limit for change!”
Nevertheless, Senate GOP members had an array of responses to Trump’s suggestion but, in typical fashion, avoided criticizing the former president himself.
“I don’t know why anybody would say something like that, certainly not an ex-president,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “I think that’s irresponsible.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a self-proclaimed supporter of the nation’s formative document, told reporters that the Constitution “is enduring and it will be for millennia to come.” He declined to respond when asked if the 45th president was wrong.
At one point, a reporter asked Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) about the ex-president’s remarks. After saying that she hadn’t seen them, she asked incredulously, “Which election?” and audibly laughed after being told Trump was talking about the 2020 contest.
Trump is the lone entrant so far in the 2024 race for the Republican nomination. That has not stopped other potential entrants in the primary battle from criticizing his latest round of remarks.
Former Vice President Mike Pence told a South Carolina radio station on Monday that anyone who runs for the party’s presidential nomination “should make it clear that we will support and defend the Constitution.”
Alexander Bolton contributed.