Trump lashes out after Colorado ruling removing him from ballot | Donald Trump

The Colorado supreme court ruling on Tuesday that bars Donald Trump from the state’s presidential ballot has kicked off a firestorm among Democrats, Republicans and legal scholars, and fury from Trump himself.

Though the former president did not address the decision during a rally on Tuesday night in Iowa – where he went on abusive rants against immigration – he posted on his social media platform Truth Social on Wednesday. “What a shame for our country!!!” Trump wrote. “A sad day for America!!!”

Noah Bookbinder, president of watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which brought the suit in Colorado on behalf of Republican and independent voters, praised the decision. It is, he said, “not only historic and justified, but is also necessary to protect the future of democracy in our country”.

“Our constitution clearly states that those who violate their oath by attacking our democracy are barred from serving in government,” he said.

Republicans have largely lined up behind Trump, railing against the ruling for allegedly revoking the rights of Americans to choose their leaders.

Elise Stefanik, a Republican representative from New York, said in a statement: “Democrats are so afraid that President Trump will win on Nov 5th 2024 that they are illegally attempting to take him off the ballot.”

The Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy pledged to drop out of the Republican primary in Colorado, piling pressure on his fellow candidates to do the same or be seen as “tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver which will have disastrous consequences from our country”.

The Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, who is also campaigning for the Republican nomination, voiced an unusual theory that the Colorado decision is in fact a move from Democrats to incite Trump’s base and deliberately help him win the primary.

“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,” DeSantis said on Wednesday, according to NBC News. “It will give [Joe] Biden or the Democrat, whoever, the ability to skate through this thing.”

Over the last few months, Trump has been liberally using his 91 criminal charges and assorted civil trials to further the narrative that Washington is against him, calling on his base for financial support. Trump has already seized the Colorado ruling for fundraising purposes, posting on Truth Social, “Breaking news: Colorado just removed me from the ballot! Chip in now.”

The Colorado court postponed the implementation of its ruling until 4 January, giving room for Trump to make an appeal to the US supreme court. Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said on Tuesday night that the campaign has “full confidence that the US supreme court will quickly rule in our favor and finally put an end to these un-American lawsuits”.

Despite confidence from Trump’s team that the supreme court would rule in their favor, legal reactions from the Colorado ruling have so far shown just how murky the debate will be.

Trump’s Truth Social feed is already reflecting this. On Tuesday night, Trump quoted Jonathan Turley, a conservative law professor at George Washington University who has appeared as a witness for House Republicans seeking to impeach Biden over nebulous claims of corruption.

“This country is a powder keg and this court is just throwing matches at it … for people that say they are trying to protect democracy, this is hands down the most anti-democratic opinion I’ve seen in my lifetime,” Trump quoted Turley as saying on Fox News.

But Trump truncated a portion of Turley’s interview where he said that though he believed the Colorado court was wrong, “January 6 was many things, most of it not good”.

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“In my view, it was not an insurrection. It was a riot,” Turley said. “That doesn’t mean that the people responsible for their day shouldn’t be held accountable. But to call this an insurrection for the purposes of disqualification would create a slippery slope for every state in the union.”

The Colorado court ruled that section 3 of the 14th amendment disqualifies Trump from office because the section – referred to as the insurrection clause – bars anyone from holding political office if they took an oath to uphold the constitution but “engaged” in “insurrection or rebellion” against it. The section was included in the constitution after the civil war to prevent Confederate leaders from holding office in the government they had rebelled against.

Turley’s argument is that while Trump incited a riot, it technically does not amount to the insurrection specified in the 14th amendment.

“If you dislike Trump, you believe he’s responsible for January 6 … this isn’t the way to do it,” he said.

This is just one of the points that will be debated if Trump’s appeal is taken up by the supreme court, which has been facing an onslaught of accusations of politics in the court. As much as the Colorado ruling puts a spotlight on Trump, it will also set up the US supreme court – which has historically tried to maintain itself as a neutral arbiter of the law – to take on yet another case entrenched in politics.

Trump appointed three out of the court’s nine current justices, cementing a six-to-three conservative majority in the court that has overturned abortion and affirmative action in the last three years. The supreme court justice Clarence Thomas has also been facing criticism over the last year for taking gifts and vacations from billionaires, as well as for the conservative activism of his wife, Ginni Thomas.

The court is also set to rule on another Trump appeal, which will decide whether he is immune to prosecution over any charges that come from his Washington DC criminal trial over the January 6 insurrection.

Regardless of whether the Colorado ruling is upheld, the debate will probably force close scrutiny of Trump’s involvement in the January 6 attack. Trump maintains that the more than 1,000 people who were arrested after the attack, including 600 who were eventually sentenced, are political prisoners. He also continues to argue that the 2020 election was stolen, a belief that incited those who carried out the January 6 attack in the first place.

“Election interference!” Trump posted on Truth Social Tuesday night.


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