Trump Gets Support From Nomination Rivals in Wake of Colorado Ruling

December 20, 2023 by Dan McCue
Trump Gets Support From Nomination Rivals in Wake of Colorado Ruling
Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a town hall campaign event, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Though they may have the most to gain in the near term from the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to bar former President Donald Trump from the state’s primary election ballot, Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination stood by him Tuesday night.

In a 4-3 ruling the Colorado Supreme Court held that Trump is disqualified from holding the office of president due to his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

They based their ruling on a provision of the 14th Amendment, which states:

“No person shall be a senator or representative in Congress, or elector of president and vice-president, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

The Trump campaign immediately said it will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On the campaign trail last night in Waterloo, Iowa, Trump made no mention of the Colorado ruling from the stage, instead trying to tamp down on another controversy — recent anti-immigrant remarks he made in New Hampshire that appear to echo a portion of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf.”

Trump told attendees at a New Hampshire rally this past weekend that immigrants who illegally enter the country are “poisoning the blood” of America.

Critics of Trump immediately drew a comparison with Hitler, who used the term “blood poisoning” in his autobiography.

“It’s true, they’re destroying the blood of our country, that’s what they’re doing,” Trump told supporters during his Iowa campaign event Tuesday night.

“They’re destroying our country. They don’t like it that I said that,” Trump said, adding that he’s never read “Mein Kampf.”

“Now they say, ‘Oh, Hitler said that’ … but in a much different way,” he said.

But if the Colorado ruling wasn’t uppermost in Trump’s mind, it certainly caught the attention of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.

Speaking to reporters at a campaign event at Corn Belt Seed Solutions in Agency, Iowa, Tuesday night, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said, “the last thing we want” is judges deciding who can and can’t be on the presidential ballot.

“I will tell you that I don’t think Donald Trump needs to be president. I think I need to be president. I think that’s good for the country,” Haley continued. “But I will beat him fair and square. We don’t need to have judges making these decisions, we need voters to make these decisions.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was hosting a meet-and-greet with voters at Jethro’s BBQ in Ankeny, Iowa, when word of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision first began to spread.

During a question and answer period at the event, one voter rose to say he would caucus for DeSantis, but still admired Trump.

“We need you to commit to making sure he does not go to prison,” the man said, adding that the former president should be “exempted from these crimes.”

Though DeSantis didn’t directly address the Colorado ruling, in noting that he too does not believe Trump should go to prison, he said, “They are weaponizing the annals of government, the architecture of government, for political purposes. They’re criminalizing politics, and that’s what Trump is facing.

“And the idea that we’re going to put an almost 80-year-old former president in prison, that is not going to be good for this country,” he added.

Later on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, DeSantis addressed the ruling more directly, saying, “the left invokes ‘democracy’ to justify its use of power, even if it means abusing judicial power to remove a candidate from the ballot based on spurious legal grounds. SCOTUS should reverse.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also responded via social media, saying, “Donald Trump should not be prevented from being president by any court. He should be prevented from being president of the United States by the voters of this country.”

But perhaps the most vociferous response came from Vivek Ramaswamy, who used his page on X to vow he’ll “withdraw from the Colorado GOP primary ballot until Trump is also allowed to be on the ballot.”

Ramaswamy also demanded that DeSantis, Christie and Haley “do the same immediately.”

If they don’t, he said, they would be “tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver which will have disastrous consequences for our country.”

The Colorado Republican Party then responded by telling Ramaswamy he needn’t worry about withdrawing from the primary ballot.

If the ruling stands, the local party said, it would withdraw from the primary as a party and convert to a pure party caucus system.

That would likely result in the need for a rule change from the Republican National Committee, which has already approved the state party’s nomination plan. But party officials said Tuesday night they are confident they’ll get a waiver if they seek one.

President Joe Biden was asked about the ruling Wednesday morning while en route to a speaking engagement before the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce.

Initially, he told reporters he wouldn’t comment on the court’s decision.

He then added, “It’s self-evident. You saw it all.”

“Now, whether the 14th Amendment applies, I’ll let the court make that decision,” Biden said. “But he certainly supported an insurrection. No question about it. None. Zero. And he seems to be doubling down on about everything. Anyway.”

The Colorado presidential primary is scheduled to be held on March 5, 2024.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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