Trump urges Republicans to preserve Pennsylvania gerrymandering that was ruled unconstitutional

The president hopes a federal court will restore a congressional map that was struck down by Pennsylvania's top court.

Trump boards Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on SUNDAY. (CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump boards Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on SUNDAY. (CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, President Trump urged Pennsylvania Republicans to challenge a new map of the state’s congressional districts issued by the state supreme court after justices determined the previous map drawn by Republican lawmakers was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

“Hope Republicans in the Great State of Pennsylvania challenge the new ‘pushed’ Congressional Map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary,” Trump tweeted. “Your Original was correct! Don’t let the Dems take elections away from you so that they can raise taxes & waste money!”

It’s ironic that Trump would accuse Pennsylvania’s Democratic lawmakers of trying to rig elections, given that the need for a new map was created by one of the most egregious Republican gerrymanders in the country.

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While the president might think the original Republican-drawn map was “correct,” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected it earlier this month because justices ruled that it “clearly, plainly and palpably” violated the state constitution. The 2011 map gave Republicans firm control of 13 of the state’s 18 congressional districts, despite the fact that Republican candidates receive about half the vote.

The state supreme court gave the legislature a February 15 deadline to come up with new, fairer maps. After Gov. Tom Wolf (D) rejected a second Republican attempt at a congressional map that was just as gerrymandered as the first, that deadline passed — leading the court to step in. On Monday, the state supreme court responded with a new map that should make the state more competitive.

Republicans have already signaled they’ll appeal the new map to federal court.