'Fallen nation': GOP Rep. Gonzales warns that Trump will try to steal the election again if he loses in 2024

'Fallen nation': GOP Rep. Gonzales warns that Trump will try to steal the election again if he loses in 2024
(DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

President Donald Trump pauses during the 9/11 Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2017. During the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon. To the left is first lady Melania Trump, and to the right are Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

A stern warning was issued to Republicans Friday by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH): don't rest on your laurels – former President Donald Trump will try to steal the next election.

"January 6 was an unconstitutional attempt led by the President of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately," Gonzalez said. "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 said he could see one of two outcomes: "He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or if he loses again, you just try to steal it."

Gonzalez was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Gonzalez and his family were the target of attacks and threats following the impeachment hearing. He has chosen to retire from Congress at the end of his term and avoid facing off with a Trump-backed primary challenger.

Gonzalez told CNN he will try to stop Trump from running the same 2020 playbook to overturn another election.

"The institutions don't hold themselves," Gonzalez said. "In the moments of truth, you need the right people to pass the most difficult tests. We had just enough people on January 6 pass the test. We have to make sure we have equal number of people to continue to pass the test going forward."

"I'm afraid that the kind of political violence, the kind of abandonment of the rule of law, the kind of abandonment of the constitution that we watched, does threaten the foundations of democracy, the foundations of our system," said Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who was kicked out of House GOP leadership over her criticism of Trump.

"And the fact that so many in my party are willing to be silent, are complicit, are enabling it, adds very much to the peril," added Cheney, one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating January 6.

"I have real concerns about the future of this democracy," said Bill Gates, a Republican supervisor in Arizona's Maricopa County who pushed back on claims that there was fraud in the 2020 election result. "I didn't think we had this sort of pull towards authoritarianism in our in our democracy."

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