By Kanishka Singh and Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Monday condemned Donald Trump’s weekend remarks that called for suspension of constitutional rules, and urged more Republicans to come forward to rebuke the former president.
“Every President and every member of Congress swears to ‘defend’ the Constitution of the United States,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said on Monday.
“Asking Members of Congress to reaffirm their oath of office and uphold the Constitution should not be a heavy lift. Congressional Republicans need to do that immediately, instead of repeatedly refusing to answer the most basic question,” Bates said.
Some Republicans condemned the remarks made by Trump on Saturday on his Truth Social online platform but many remained silent or did not condemn him by name.
Trump last month announced a third run for the presidency in 2024.
“A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump had said on Saturday, reiterating his false claims that the 2020 elections that he lost to President Joe Biden were rigged.
Trump’s remarks came as a reaction to revelations on internal communications about how social media platform Twitter had restricted the circulation of a New York Post report – during the 2020 election campaign – about Biden’s son, Hunter, including on his business dealings with foreign companies. The Bidens have denied wrongdoing.
Trump tried to walk back his remarks with another Truth Social post on Monday: “What I said was that when there is “MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION,” as has been irrefutably proven in the 2020 Presidential Election, steps must be immediately taken to RIGHT THE WRONG.”
No such proof exists.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and former national security adviser John Bolton, both Republicans, criticized Trump’s remarks on Monday, with Bolton saying he was prepared to consider running for president himself if more Republicans did not call out Trump’s comments.
Republican Senators John Cornyn, Lisa Murkowski, John Thune and Mike Rounds also condemned Trump.
“I just think that’s irresponsible,” Cornyn told reporters on Monday.
Thune, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican, said: “I couldn’t disagree more. I swear an oath to defend and support it (the Constitution), and I take it very seriously.”
Both Cornyn and Thune, however, stopped short of saying Trump’s remarks should disqualify him as a presidential candidate when they were asked that by reporters.
Trump is facing multiple legal troubles.
The Department of Justice is investigating his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and his removal of confidential government documents from the White House after leaving office. He also faces a state probe in Georgia over a push to reverse his election loss in that state, along with investigations into alleged wrongdoings by his company, the Trump Organization.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Nandita Bose in Washington; additional reporting by David Morgan; editing by Heather Timmons and Bill Berkrot)