DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy React to Colorado’s Removal of Trump from State Ballot

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s removal from the state ballot by the Colorado Supreme Court provoked mixed reactions from Republicans and Democrats. Some accused the court of taking the decision away from the voters, while others agreed with the ruling that Trump incited insurrection on January 6.

Historic ruling

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On December 19, 2023, Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled that GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is ineligible for office because he violated the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. In the 4-3 ruling, the state court found that the former president had engaged in insurrection on the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump reacts

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The court also said Trump’s speech to his supporters on January 6th was “not protected by the First Amendment” because of his “inciting the crowd.” Trump took to Truth Social after the ruling, lamenting it as “a sad day in America!” He added, “Biden should drop all of these fake political indictments against me, both criminal and civil.”

Election interference

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The former president repeated claims that the Department of Justice and the White House conspired to interfere in the 2024 election, writing, “Every case I am fighting is the work of the DOJ & White House. No such thing has ever happened in our country before. Banana Republic??? Election Interference!!!”

DeSantis’s take

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Florida governor Ron DeSantis and a candidate for GOP presidential nomination gave his take on the Colorado decision, claiming it was, in fact, a move by the Democrats to incite Trump’s base to help him win the primary deliberately.

Democrat ploy

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“They’re doing all this stuff to basically solidify support in the primary for him, get him into the general, and the whole general election’s going to be all this legal stuff,” reacted DeSantis, according to NBC News. “It will give Biden or the Democrat, whoever, the ability to skate through this thing.”

Haley will beat Trump at the ballot box

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“I will beat him fair and square. We don’t need to have judges making these decisions, we need voters to make these decisions,” Nikki Haley told reporters after a campaign event at Corn Belt Seed Solutions. “The last thing we want is judges telling us who can and can’t be on the ballot,” she added.

Ramaswamy calls on rivals to withdraw from state primary

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Trump’s rival candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, went a step further in his reaction to the news, stating, “I pledge to withdraw from the Colorado GOP primary unless Trump is also allowed to be on the state’s ballot, and I demand that Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley to do the same immediately — or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver which will have disastrous consequences for our country… This is what an *actual* attack on democracy looks like: in an un-American, unconstitutional, and *unprecedented* decision, a cabal of Democrat judges are barring Trump from the ballot in Colorado.”

Biden respects the court’s decision

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President Joe Biden gave his take on the ruling, arguing it was up to the courts. “Whether the 14th Amendment applies, I’ll let the court make that decision. But he certainly supported an insurrection. There’s no question about it. None. Zero. He seems to be doubling down on everything.”

State Republicans appeal

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Eight days after the ruling, Colorado’s GOP appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, leading Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to announce that Trump would be included on the primary ballot on the January 5 certification deadline unless the federal Supreme Court declined to take the case or affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

U.S. Supreme Court decision ahead

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On January 5, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and confirmed that it would hear Trump’s appeal of the Colorado ruling. A quick decision is expected, as the Republican presidential primary will be well underway when the case is argued on February 8. The Colorado primary is set for March 5.

Maine Secretary of State boots Trump off ballot

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Maine joined Colorado in removing Trump from its 2024 state ballot. On December 28, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows decided to bar Trump from the ballot following a bipartisan group of former lawmakers filing a challenge to Trump’s eligibility also based on the 14th Amendment.

Gives her take

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“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” Bellows wrote of her decision. “Democracy is sacred … I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”

Trump’s appeal

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Trump appealed the removal, asking the superior court for Kennebec County to reverse the decision, accusing Bellows of bias and not giving the former president enough time to present a defense.

Bellows lacked the authority

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“The secretary’s ruling was the product of a process infected by bias and pervasive lack of due process; is arbitrary, capricious, and characterized by abuse of discretion; affected by error of law; ultra vires, and unsupported by substantial evidence on the record,” the filing reads. “The secretary had no statutory authority to consider the challenges raised under section three of the 14th amendment.”

Survives impeachment

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Republicans then attempted to impeach Bellows for her decision, but the Maine House of Representatives voted 80-60 along party lines, rejecting the resolution.

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