Steven Calabresi, a law professor at Northwestern University who has offered the president broad defenses in recent years, wrote: “I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken the Democrats for political hyperbole. claim that President Trump is a fascist. ”
“But this latest tweet is fascist and in itself constitutes grounds for the immediate impeachment of the president by the House of Representatives and his impeachment by the Senate,” he said.
It’s a significant break with the co-founder of one of the most influential groups in Republican politics. The Federalist Society has become a leading conservative and libertarian voice in recent years, calling for a limited role for judges in the problems of society.
The group also worked closely with the Republican administrations to influence the selection of judges. Its leaders advised the George W. Bush administration on appointments and, for Trump, became an even closer partner in the selection of judicial candidates.
Trump does not have the power to delay an election, and the Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date of the vote. Lawmakers from both parties said almost immediately that there was no chance the elections would be delayed.
“All Republicans in Congress must tell President Trump he cannot postpone the federal election,” Calabresi wrote. “It would be illegal, unconstitutional and unprecedented in American history. Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again. ”
The editorial, coupled with a series of meaningful reactions to Trump from Republicans in Congress on Thursday, offers a rare look at the limits of loyalty to the President within the GOP when it comes to defending his political impulses the most extreme.
Senate Judiciary President Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and Trump ally, told CNN when asked about the president’s call to delay the election: “I don’t think that’s a very good idea. . ”
And South Dakota Majority Whip Sen. John Thune, a member of the Republican leadership, told CNN there would be an election in November despite the president’s tweet.
“I think it’s probably a statement that gets the attention of the press, but I doubt it will generate serious interest,” Thune said. “I think we’ve had elections every November since about 1788, and I think we will again this year. ”
Even with dozens of Republicans openly contesting Trump’s tweet, Calabresi’s op-ed stands out as a stark defection given its long history in the GOP. Although he has criticized the president in the past, Calabresi has gained significant notoriety in recent years for his drastic repuditions of the investigation of Special Advocate Robert Mueller as well as the impeachment of Trump for his conduct with Ukraine.
CNN’s Annie Grayer, Kevin Liptak, and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.