Retiring Rep. Anthony Gonzalez warned that Trump will be better prepared if he tries to steal the next election.
https://www.huffpost.com-By Josephine Harvey
Retiring Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) predicted how Donald Trump may be laying the groundwork to steal the 2024 election, slamming the former president as an “enormous political loser” who led the GOP “into a ditch.”
“It looks to me … that he has evaluated what went wrong on January 6. Why is it that he wasn’t able to steal the election? Who stood in his way?” Gonzalez, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Capitol riot, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
“Every single American institution is just run by people. And you need the right people to make the right decision in the most difficult times. He’s going systematically through the country and trying to remove those people and install people who are going to do exactly what he wants them to do, who believe the ‘big lie,’ who will go along with anything he says.”
Since last year’s vote, Trump’s persistent “stolen election” disinformation campaign has been accompanied by GOP-led changes in states’ voting laws across the country. In several swing states, pro-Trump conspiracy theorists are running for key election administration positions, potentially paving the way for Trump to succeed where he failed after the 2020 election.
Should Trump run again in 2024 and lose, Gonzalez said, he was concerned that Trump would try to steal the election again, but “with his people in those positions.”
Reflecting on the Jan. 6 riot, the lawmaker said it was no surprise there was violence, since members of Congress did things like compare the attempt to overturn the election results to the American Revolution, likely referring to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who tweeted “Today is 1776” on the day of the riot.
Gonzalez announced in September that he will not seek reelection, citing a desire for more family time and “toxic dynamics” within the GOP as the main factors leading to his decision.
“1 down, 9 to go,” Trump said in a statement after Gonzalez’s announcement. Last month, Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) became the second Republican who voted to impeach Trump to make the same decision. All 10 faced backlash from Trump and some GOP colleagues.
Asked by Tapper for his message to Republican voters and leaders, Gonzalez urged them to “keep the faith.”
“The country can survive around a bad policy,” he said, criticizing President Joe Biden. “The country can’t survive torching the Constitution. We have to hold fast to the Constitution. That needs to be the bedrock upon which we build our party and our movement.
“We have to be a party of ideas. We have to be a party of truth. And the cold hard truth is Donald Trump led us into a ditch on Jan. 6. The former president lied to us. He lied to every one of us.”
Should Trump run again in 2024, Gonzalez said he would do everything he could to keep him from winning ― except voting for Democrats.
“Jan. 6 was an unconstitutional attempt led by the president of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately. That’s fallen nation territory. That’s third world country territory,” he said. “My family left Cuba to avoid that fate. I will not let it happen here. Can I stop them? I have no idea. But I believe as a citizen in this country who loves this country and respects the Constitution. That’s my responsibility.”