Trump Calls For Termination of U.S. Constitution After Release of Matt Taibi’s ‘The Twitter Files’
Former U.S. President Donald Trump posted Tweets seeming to call for the termination of the Constitution, prompting significant backlash (Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons).
On December 3, former U.S. president Donald Trump took to his proprietary social media platform ‘Truth Social’ and called for the termination of the U.S. Constitution. The post was made less than 24 hours after independent journalist Matt Taibbi published a report titled “The Twitter Files,” which detailed discussions between Twitter executives about a New York Post article on current U.S. President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
What Are The ‘Twitter Files’ And Why Are They Important?
The “Twitter Files” was a report, or more specifically, a thread on Twitter, by author Matt Taibbi that provided an inside look at Twitter employees’ internal discussions regarding the company’s decision to block links to a 2020 New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s private communications. The article specifically focused on the Biden family’s business dealings with Ukrainian businessmen and Chinese companies. Due to concerns that the information in the post was obtained through a Russian hacking operation, it was temporarily blocked by Twitter administrators.
The report’s significance, however, lies in its timing ― because the emails, messages, and other pieces of information were released in October 2020, could they have potentially affected the results of the 2020 federal election?
This likely was not the case, as Hunter Biden has had little if any involvement with his father's presidential campaign and nothing from his laptop was revealed to be related to the campaign. However, all this shows that political parties do, in fact, have sway over social media platforms like Twitter. Although it was highlighted that Republicans also have a back channel, Taibbi denounced the Biden campaign for using the Democratic Party’s influence to pressure Twitter to take down specific posts.
While Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, referred to the report as a “bombshell,” most of the information revealed was already public knowledge. It certainly became more widely known, with details from Hunter’s laptop now being extensively covered by media sources like the New York Times, NBC, and CNN. Still, regardless of whether the information was released on Twitter, the report would not have had a significant effect on public opinion during the election.
Trump’s Reaction and Later Denial
Following the report's release, Trump posted several “Truths” (Truth Social’s version of a Tweet) regarding the situation. “So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?” he posted on December 3. He then ended with a post saying, “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great 'Founders' did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”
However, on December 5, two days after his original posts, Trump backtracked and said he had not called for the U.S. Constitution to be terminated. “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,” Trump said on his Truth Social page.
This retraction came in the midst of heavy criticism from several Republican lawmakers for his remarks about suspending the Constitution so that he could win the presidency. However, the party establishment (including Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader) has largely kept quiet. Some in the GOP have expressed disagreement with the president’s plan to “terminate” the Constitution but refrained from commenting on whether his posts will influence their support for Trump’s 2024 presidential run.
Potential Consequences for the Trump Campaign
There have not been any significant repercussions for the former president yet, other than strong condemnation from Democrats and some Republics. The comments, however, might end up working against him.
In the U.S. Constitution, the 14th Amendment states that anyone who has participated in a rebellion against the government cannot hold a state or federal office. Given the amendment’s definition of rebellion, which includes those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or otherwise “given aid or comfort” to such people, Trump could qualify due to both his statements about suspending the Constitution as well as his support for those who took part in the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill.
So far, the Republican Party and Trump campaign are unsure how to respond to Trump’s social media posts, especially now that he is under investigation by various federal and state agencies and the House January 6 committee is ready to release their report on his actions during the attack on the Capitol. However, it seems that Trump’s efforts to reinstate himself as the face of the Republican Party and win a presidential bid in 2024 will be an uphill battle moving forward.
Sources & Further Reading