Thune: Trump call to terminate Constitution a ‘golden opportunity’ for 2024 rivals

Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters Monday that he “couldn’t disagree more” with former President Trump’s call to terminate parts of the Constitution in order to be reinstated president and said such comments present “a golden opportunity” for Trump’s rivals in 2024.

Thune, who was just reelected to a fourth Senate term, noted that federal officeholders take an oath to uphold the Constitution and added that he takes his seriously.  

“Of course I disagree with that. I swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, and it is a bedrock principle — it is the principle, the bedrock of our country. So I couldn’t disagree more,” Thune said.  

He predicted that “it will be the grist of the campaign” for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. 

“If you’re one of these other people who’s interested [in] running this year, this is certainly an opportunity to create some contrast,” said Thune, noting that Trump is the only declared Republican candidate for president at this point in the election cycle.  

Thune said he was mystified why Trump would make such an outlandish statement in response to a report about Twitter employees’ discussions about how to handle media coverage of emails recovered from Hunter Biden’s stolen laptop.  

“I don’t understand what the theory might [be] behind this particular campaign strategy, but he’s going to say what he’s going to say. I don’t think anybody’s going to control that, but I do think if you’re one of the other candidates, this is a golden opportunity,” he said.  

Thune is the No. 2 member of Senate Republican leadership.  

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is eyeing his own bid for the White House in 2024, pushed back against Trump’s comments Monday.  

“I must tell you that I think that everyone that serves in public office, everyone that aspires to serve or serve again, should make it clear that we will support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Pence told a radio station in South Carolina ahead of his scheduled visit to the state.  

Other Republicans weighing presidential campaigns include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).  

Trump’s statement also drew criticism from Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who called it “an affront to our Republic.”  

“Suggesting the termination of our Constitution is not only a betrayal of our Oath of Office, it’s an affront to our Republic,” she wrote on Twitter.  

Trump tried to walk back his comments in two posts on his social media platform, Truth Social, claiming the media has distorted what he wrote.  

“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 on Truth Social.  

Trump asserted that he was calling for the 2020 presidential election to be “redone” or for him to be declared the “rightful winner.”  

He argued in a separate post 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!” 

Brett Samuels and Zach Schonfeld contributed.  

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