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Susan Estrich: Terminating the U.S. Constitution

From the commentary: Terminating the Constitution? The question is no longer what is going on with Trump. We know that. He will never be president again.

Bonus editorial cartoon for Dec. 10, 2022
Cartoonist Jeff Koterba draws criticism of Donald Trump's call to terminate the U.S. Constitution.
Jeff Koterba
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By now, you would have to be under a rock not to have heard that Donald Trump has outdone himself once again. Just when you thought there was nothing more outrageous he could do, the former president who swore to uphold the Constitution comes right out and says that the Constitution should be "terminated." Democracy be damned. Trump as king. Vladimir Putin couldn't have said it better.

Susan Estrich
Susan Estrich commentary
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Of course, he knew what he was saying. He did it deliberately. Instead of condemning antisemitism, he condemned the Constitution.

The timing was hardly coincidental. It followed the absolutely inexcusable dinner he hosted for Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, famous antisemites who he breaks bread with.

He has single-handedly made his own party's leaders look like fools as they bend themselves into pretzels trying to avoid offending Trump's base.

What was he doing with those two famous haters?

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What is wrong with Republican leaders who won't stand up to him, won't stand up against a Holocaust denier?

The answer, of course, is politics, pure and simple. Kevin McCarthy needs the support of every single Republican House member, including the furthest to the right. So he becomes a follower instead of a leader. It is inexcusable. He will fail as speaker if he is owned by the extremists.

But it's not just the far-right members of Congress. It's voters. Forty percent of all Americans have a favorable view of the former president. Three in 10 Republicans say they are more supporters of Trump than of the party, down from a majority in 2020, according to NBC News polls, but still a significant bloc.

The result is that even party leaders who know better tap dance to avoid denouncing the former president.

Trump couldn't defend his dinner with the haters. His first response was that he and Ye "got along great, he expressed no anti-Semitism, & I appreciated all the nice things he said about me on 'Tucker Carlson.' Why wouldn't I agree to meet. Also, I don't know Nick Fuentes."

Four days later, Ye told Alex Jones in an interview, "I see good things about Hitler" and posted a swastika inside a Jewish star on Twitter. Still no word of condemnation from Trump. And as for not knowing Fuentes, that's just not credible. No one gets to dine with a former president by accident. Fuentes is a famous hater. Not knowing that is no excuse. Who did he think he was?

No, Trump is, as always, transparent. It's only, always, only about him. Pathological narcissists are like that. Faced with his own unacceptable behavior, unwilling to apologize as his own vice president urged him to do, Trump did what was exactly in character. More outrage.

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What could be even more outrageous than breaking bread with two men famous for hating Jews?

Terminating the Constitution, that's what. So that was where Trump pivoted. And yes, we all pivoted with him, from his last supper to his next outrage.

But not so fast. The question is no longer what is going on with Trump. We know that. He will never be president again. But he remains a force to be reckoned with, and how Republicans deal with him will define that party for years to come. He is doing them no favors, but of course, he doesn't care. He didn't have that much Jewish support to begin with, and he clearly doesn't care about losing it. What is so upsetting is that his base is willing to stick with him no matter what. Do they really agree with him? How could it be otherwise?

This Susan Estrich commentary is her opinion. She can be reached at sestrich@wctrib.com.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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Related Topics: COMMENTARY
Opinion by Susan Estrich
Susan Estrich is an American lawyer, professor, author, political operative, and political commentator. She can be reached via sestrich@wctrib.com.
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