GOP Rep. Gonzalez Issues Warning on Trump: U.S. 'Can't Survive Torching the Constitution'

Representative Anthony Gonzalez, a retiring Ohio Republican, warned against what he and many others view as the threat from former President Donald Trump in a CNN interview from Friday.

Gonzalez, who voted with 10 other House Republicans to impeach Trump in January, announced in September that he would not seek reelection. The Republican congressman would have faced off against a pro-Trump candidate in the GOP primary in his state and appeared unlikely to win.

Speaking to the news outlet, the congressman explained that he saw the January 6 attack against the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump supporters as a step too far. He warned the future of America is hanging in the balance.

"January 6th was the line that can't be crossed. January 6th 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. My family left Cuba to avoid that fate. I will not let it happen here," Gonzalez explained.

Anthony Gonzalez
Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) warned in an interview with CNN that Trump reminds him of Castro's takeover of Cuba. In this photo, Gonzalez is seen during a House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing on December 2, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Getty Images

The Ohio representative said he got into politics because his family came from Cuba, which he described as "a country that has fallen."

"We come from a failed nation and we see what happens when the rule of law is dismantled, when a strong man is allowed to take hold, and democratic norms cease to exist," Gonzalez said.

The Republican congressman pointed out that he strongly opposes much of President Joe Biden's agenda. However, he sees the impact of Trump as much worse for the U.S.

"The country can survive a round of bad policy. The country can't survive torching the Constitution. That's the one thing the country can't survive," Gonzalez said.

When Gonzalez announced his decision not to seek reelection in September, he slammed the "toxic dynamics" within the GOP.

"While my desire to build a fuller family life is at the heart of my decision, it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decisions," he said at the time.

Trump issued a statement slamming Gonzalez after that September announcement.

"RINO Congressman Anthony Gonzalez, who has poorly represented his district in the Great State of Ohio, has decided to quit after enduring a tremendous loss of popularity, of which he had little, since his ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting President of the United States, me," the former president said at the time.

"RINO" is an acronym meaning "Republican in name only."

Of the 10 House Republicans who backed Trump's impeachment following the January 6 attack, two have announced that they won't seek reelection. In addition to Gonzalez, vocal Trump critic Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois confirmed late last month that he would not run for another term.

"I also remember during that [first congressional] campaign saying that if I ever thought it was time to move on from Congress, I would, and that time is now," Kinzinger said in a video announcing his decision on October 29. "But let me be clear, my desire to make a difference is bigger than it's ever been."

The other eight House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January include Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Peter Meijer of Michigan, John Katko of New York, and David Valdao of California.

Newsweek reached out to Trump's press office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.