After three consecutive dismal election cycles, Republicans still can't bring themselves to break with perennial loser Donald Trump even after his rallying cry to terminate the U.S. Constitution.
On Tuesday, the House GOP's No. 2, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, became the latest Republican to fail the democracy test: Trump or the Constitution?
Pressed by PBS Newshour reporter Lisa Desjardins on Trump's latest call to suspend "all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution," Scalise simply couldn't bring himself to condemn Trump.
"Rep. @SteveScalise told me a few minutes ago that he has not seen former Pres. Trump's words about the Constitution," tweeted Desjardins, in regard to Trump's Truth Social rant.
Desjardins proceeded to educate Scalise: "As he sees the election, from 2020, it allows for the termination of all rules and articles, including the Constitution. What do you make of that?"Campaign Action
Steering clear of Trump, Scalise responded, "The Constitution is never subject to being waived or suspended. Obviously, the Constitution's our enduring document that protects our freedoms."
Desjardins followed up by asking Scalise if it's "dangerous to talk about the termination of things like that?" In other words, is it dangerous to suspend the very document that "protects our freedoms," as Scalise himself put it.
The response, according to Desjardins' tweet thread: "Scalise: *enters office, does not respond*"
So if it's Trump or the Constitution, it's still Trump for Republicans, which is the exact same message Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, who chairs the Republican Governance Group, sent Sunday on ABC's This Week.
Host George Stephanopoulos asked Joyce directly, "Can you support a candidate in 2024 who's for suspending the Constitution?"
Joyce equivocated at first, offering, "It's early, I think there's going to be a lot people in the primary."
But he ultimately admitted that he would back Trump if he won the nomination. "At the end of the day, whoever the Republicans end up picking, I think I'll fall behind."
"Even if it's Donald Trump and he's called for suspending the Constitution?" Stephanopoulos interjected.
Joyce retreated to his earlier contention that it would be a "big field" in 2024, suggesting that Trump might not win.
"That's not what I'm asking," Stephanopoulos clarified, "I'm asking you, if he's the nominee, will you support him?"
"I will support whoever the Republican nominee is," Joyce restated, adding another dash of fairy dust, "I just don't think at this point he will be able to get there."
Stephanopoulos proceeded to call Joyce's statement both "extraordinary" and "remarkable."
But the truth is, it isn't remarkable in the least from today's Republican Party—it's just more of the same from a party that has routinely capitulated to Donald Trump no matter what the circumstance. Even after Trump inspired the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. seat of government, 197 House Republicans—93% of the caucus—voted against impeaching him.
The entire Jan. 6 attack was an assault on the Constitution, the peaceful transfer of power, and the will of the people.
The brother of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick put it best on Tuesday when he explained why the Sicknick family refused to shake the hands of GOP leaders Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell at a congressional gold medal ceremony for officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6.
"Unlike Liz Cheney, they have no idea what integrity is," Ken Sicknick said. "They can't stand up for what's right and wrong—with them, it's party first."
On Tuesday, McConnell had yet another opportunity to defend U.S. democracy when CNN’s Manu Raju asked if he would “categorically” refuse to support Trump.
"What I’m saying is, it would be pretty hard to be sworn in to the presidency if you’re not willing to uphold the Constitution,” McConnell offered.
Again, given the choice of Trump or the Constitution, McConnell demurs.
Republicans have proven over and over again their fealty to party, and personal gain supersedes their fealty to the republic. Their continued refusal to condemn a man who is calling for the "termination" of the U.S. Constitution is just a continuation of their treachery.