Steven Calabresi is not among the usual slate of conservative critics of the president. He doesn't appear on MSNBC to lambast the Republican Party or write denunciations of the White House for The Bulwark. But in a new piece for the New York Times on Thursday, he offered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump's suggestion on Twitter that he may seek to delay the November election.
Calabresi started with his Trumpist bona fides, confirming that he's not inclined to criticize the president:
I have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, including voting for Donald Trump in 2016. I wrote op-eds and a law review article protesting what I believe was an unconstitutional investigation by Robert Mueller. I also wrote an op-ed opposing President Trump's impeachment.
Then he continued, cutting to the heart of the matter:
But I am frankly appalled by the president's recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats' assertion that President Trump is a fascist. But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president's immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.
The United States has never in its history delayed a presidential election, he pointed out, and there's no justification to do it now. Calabresi noted that it's not even within Trump's power to delay or cancel the election, and it's up to states whether they want to use mail-in ballots, which the president has decried.
But unlike some political commentators who dismissed the president's comments because he lacks the official capacity to carry them out, Calabresi took Trump's threat seriously.
"President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he cannot postpone the federal election," he wrote. "Doing so would be illegal, unconstitutional and without precedent in American history. Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again."
Republicans in Congress — the people necessary to make good on the threat of impeachment that Calabresi raises — should follow his lead and hold the president's feet to the fire. They ought to tell him: Back down or be replaced.