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How Republicans Are Reacting to the Colorado Ruling to Remove Trump From the Ballot

17 minute read
Updated: | Originally published:

The Colorado Supreme Court decided Tuesday night to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot in 2024—a ruling that will surely be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The move has already been met with strong reactions across parties.

Read More: Donald Trump Banned From 2024 Ballot in Colorado After Historic Ruling by State Court

Democrats have affirmed the decision.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial and a candidate for U.S. Senate in California, posted on X, formerly Twitter: “The Colorado Supreme Court just ruled Donald Trump is disqualified from the ballot — and from holding office — under the 14th Amendment. Accountability for inciting an insurrection. It’s about time.”

Colorado Democrat Rep. Jason Crow posted: “The Colorado Supreme Court has it right. The Constitution protects the right to vote and bars candidates who abuse the process or engage in insurrection. Donald Trump has done both.”

And Maryland’s Rep. Jamie Raskin, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee and the lead impeachment manager during Trump’s second impeachment trial, told MSNBC of the decision that “it was a very powerful and exhaustive opinion dealing with everything from ‘is this really just a political question up to Congress?’ to the question of whether the President is an officer under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to whether he’d in fact engaged in an insurrection and what an insurrection means.” Raskin added in a post on X: “Insurrection, Lincoln said, attacks the people’s right to choose their leaders.”

When asked for his reaction to the Colorado decision, President Joe Biden said he wouldn’t comment on the legal aspect. “That’s up to the court.” When asked if he thought Trump was an insurrectionist, he said: “Well, I think certain things are self-evident. You saw it all. Now, whether the 14th Amendment applies, I’ll let the court make that decision. But he certainly supported an insurrection. No question about it. None. Zero.”

Read More: The Case for Why the Constitution Blocks Trump Being President Again

Meanwhile, Trump, his allies, and fellow Republicans have lambasted the decision.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement: “Unsurprisingly, the all-Democrat appointed Colorado Supreme Court has ruled against President Trump, supporting a Soros-funded, left-wing group’s scheme to interfere in an election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden by removing President Trump’s name from the ballot and eliminating the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice. Democrat Party leaders are in a state of paranoia over the growing, dominant lead President Trump has amassed in the polls. They have lost faith in the failed Biden presidency and are now doing everything they can to stop the American voters from throwing them out of office next November. The Colorado Supreme Court issued a completely flawed decision tonight and we will swiftly file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and a concurrent request for a stay of this deeply undemocratic decision. We have full confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court will quickly rule in our favor and finally put an end to these unAmerican lawsuits.”

And the Make America Great Again Inc. super PAC said: “Today’s ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court is much more than a political attack on President Donald Trump — it’s an attack on the Republican Party and an attack on the very fabric of America. Everyone, including the Republicans running against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, and even President Joe Biden, must speak out swiftly against this unconstitutional ruling and stand for fair and honest elections.”

Even a foreign leader has weighed in. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele—notorious for his authoritarian leadership—posted on X: “The United States has lost its ability to lecture any other country about ‘democracy.’”

Other Republican presidential candidates

Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the U.N. and currently the leading contender in the GOP primary race behind Trump, told reporters at a campaign event in Iowa: “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 … 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.”

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, posted on X: “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.”

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who has been an outspoken opponent of Trump’s fitness for a second term, told supporters at a town hall in Bedford, New Hampshire: “I can’t comment on the opinion itself, because I want to read it first. But what I will say is this: I do not think Donald Trump should be prevented from being President of the United States by any court. I think he should be prevented from being President of the United States by the voters of this country.”

Christie explained his reasoning, saying: “He will have had to incite insurrection, be a part of an insurrection, for him to be excluded. There has been no trial of him on that. And while I have very strong feelings about that, as you know, I also have very strong feelings about the fact that people in this country deserve to have a trial before rights are taken away from them and deserve to have a decision by a jury of their peers before rights are taken away from them. So I know it will be counterintuitive for people who listen to me about Donald Trump, but I hope it just goes to prove to you that I don’t hate him. I don’t. I just think that what he’s done is horribly wrong and that he doesn’t deserve the right that we would give him as voters to lead us again. But as far as the court decision … I think this is probably premature and jumping ahead of it, and I think it would cause a lot of anger in this country if people had the choice taken away from them. I would rather have them make the choice that he doesn’t deserve it, rather than having some court take it away from them.”

Vivek Ramaswamy, the former biotech entrepreneur turned populist political novice known for his acerbic approach of staking out positions he believes establishment politicians might find outlandish, posted a video on X in which he described the Colorado decision as “a bastardization” of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. “This was a provision—Section 3—that was designed to bar Confederate members, people who switched to the Confederacy, from actually being able to serve. That’s very different than what’s at issue here, to say the least. This is a hollowed out husk of what the country was built on: the basic principle that ‘we the people’ select our leadership, not the unelected elite class in the back of palace halls,” he said.

Ramaswamy then said he would withdraw from the Colorado GOP primary ballot “unless and until Trump’s name is restored,” and he called upon his fellow primary candidates to do the same thing lest they be “complicit in what the security state is trying to do to shut down Trump.”

“I think it's up to Republicans to step up and stand up with a spine for our country’s future,” he said. “Yes, it would be easier for other Republicans like me who are running in this race to say, ‘Hey, if Trump is sidelined, there’s our opportunity.’ No doubt, other candidates are probably privately celebrating with their corporate sponsors. That’s not the right thing to do.”

In a response on X to Ramaswamy’s pledge to withdraw from the ballot in Colorado, the Colorado Republican Party said: “You won’t have to because we will withdraw from the Primary as a Party and convert to a pure caucus system if this is allowed to stand.”


Trump’s closest allies shared a common refrain: that the Colorado decision represents a Democratic Party attack on democracy.

Donald “Don” Trump Jr., Trump’s 45-year-old eldest son, posted on X: “There is no greater threat to democracy than today’s Democratic Party. ‘Destroying democracy in the name of democracy’ Today’s American Communist Party (formerly democrats).”

Eric Trump, Trump’s 39-year-old son, also commented on X, saying: “Let’s not worry about Democracy or the will of the American people… If you can’t win, cheat… This is unAmerican and the typical playbook of the modern democratic party.”

Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s closest advisors, posted on X: “Mass censorship. Intelligence coups. Imprisoning dissidents. Election interference. And now, removing Trump from the ballot. Democrats have declared war on Democracy.”

Miller added in an appearance on Fox News that “December 19th will be remembered in history.”

Jason Miller, the chief spokesman of Trump’s 2016 campaign and a senior adviser to his 2024 campaign, posted on X: “Biden. Attacks. Democracy. Direct connection between the ruling in Colorado and President Trump posting his largest lead ever over Joe Biden today. Watching Democrats resort to lawfare that disenfranchises millions of Americans to win an election is quite stunning.”

Sean Spicer, Trump’s former press secretary, said: “Threats to democracy? - one party canceled a primary to prevent dissent - one party is pushing to keep its political opponent off the ballot.”

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who served as Trump’s personal lawyer and was recently ordered by a court to pay $148 million in damages over lies he spread during the 2020 election, posted on X: “The decision by the Colorado Supreme Court is a direct attack on Democracy. These Democrat Party judges are further destroying the public’s faith in our judicial system. The Supreme Court must quickly act, as this would be disastrous for America.”

Ben Carson, Trump’s former housing and urban development secretary, said: “Colorado just decided to disenfranchise the people of their state by choosing to remove Donald Trump from the ballot. A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take away your right to choose your President. But We the People will not allow it. I stand with my friend President Donald J Trump!”

Ronna McDaniel, chairperson of the Republican National Committee, posted on X: “Election interference. This irresponsible ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and our legal team looks forward to helping fight for a victory. The Republican nominee will be decided by Republican voters, not a partisan state court.”

Mick Mulvaney, who was once Trump’s acting chief-of-staff and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, said: “The Left is so blinded by Trump Derangement Syndrome that they don’t realize how much this helps him.”

Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster and consultant and former Trump aide who served as his campaign manager in 2016, told Fox News: “The Democrats think they own the issue ‘threats to democracy.’ They don’t own it. A lot of people are tired of being censored and shadowbanned and put upon by the government and its ridiculous regulations and legislation and calling things like ‘Inflation Reduction Act,’ which is no such thing. I think ‘threats to democracy’ is going to increase as a focal point for Republican and center-right independent voters.”

Right-leaning commentators

Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio host and a frequent contributor to the Washington Post and Fox News, criticized the court decision, posting on X: “Colorado Supreme Court, by a vote of 4-3, beclowns itself and its state. SCOTUS should move quickly to reverse this idiocy. The politicization of courts at all levels is greatly damaging to the rule of law. It should [be] a 9-0 reversal and it should be quick.”

Chanel Rion, former chief White House correspondent for One America News Network who has been dubbed “Trump’s favorite reporter” and settled multiple defamation lawsuits related to lies she promoted about the 2020 election results, posted on X: “This is only the beginning to what lengths they’ll go to stop Trump. By removing Trump from the ballot - four Colorado Judges just decided America cannot be trusted to think for itself. If we interpreted the 14th Am. the way these judges did we could argue THEY just violated the 14th am. and should submit their resignations immediately. But they won’t. The Constitution doesn’t say what their Trump deranged brains think it says. And they know it. They just hope you won’t notice.”

Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and founder of InfoWars who filed for bankruptcy last year after being sentenced to pay more than $1 billion in damages for defamation related to falsehoods he spread about the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, said in a video posted on X: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic Party just stole the 2024 election long before the polls opened. … This is criminal activity in front of everyone. This is the oligarchy that’s hijacked our country setting up a totalitarian dictatorship in our face. … This is open election meddling.”

Pollster Frank Luntz also offered his two cents—and a forecast—on X: “Colorado has just proven Trump’s theory true that he’s the victim of political persecution. His poll numbers won’t drop. On the contrary, they will rise.”

Benny Johnson, a YouTuber and political commentator who was once fired from the politics desk at Buzzfeed for plagiarism, posted on X: “They impeached Trump twice. Indicted him 4 times. Charged him 91 times. And now they are trying to remove him from the ballot. In spite of all that, Trump’s poll numbers are currently the highest they’ve ever been in the history of his political career. There is nothing the Deep State can do to stop this man short of destroying democracy itself. The man is unstoppable.”

Ben Shapiro, a lawyer and conservative political pundit who founded the Daily Wire, posted on X: “The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling barring Trump from the ballot isn’t just insane. It’s actually dangerous, and sets the stage for the ugliest presidential election of our lifetime, with the real possibility of violence ahead,” alongside a clip from a segment from his eponymous Daily Wire show, in which he said: “It seems that the chances of civil war in America just rose somewhat dramatically.”

Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host and now a right-wing commentator on X, said in a video posted to X: “Whatever else January 6 was, and in some ways we still don’t know exactly what it was, it was not a Trump-led insurrection. The crowd had no guns, they had no plan to overthrow the government, nothing like that has ever emerged. And above all, Trump was not leading it. … So why were the people on television telling us that Trump led an ‘insurrection’? This was of course a lie, it was also a very obvious lie. So clearly, we’re watching the rollout of a talking point, words crafted for a specific purpose. But what was the purpose? We got an answer to that … when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that because he led an ‘insurrection,’ Donald Trump’s name cannot appear on the state’s ballot next fall.”

“Donald Trump cannot run for president because he’s an ‘insurrectionist,’” Carlson continued. “No more trials or evidence or jury verdicts. An accusation made on television is now enough to remove a front runner from the presidential race. If Nancy Pelosi and Joe Scarborough call you bad, Americans are not allowed to vote for you.”

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X who announced in 2022 that he would begin to vote Republican, commented on the court ruling in replies to posts about the news. “These actions will have the opposite effect of what was intended,” he said, and: “History will judge this poorly.”

GOP members of Congress

A growing number of Republican representatives and senators have chimed in expressing similar sentiments of outrage. Here are just a few examples:

House Speaker Mike Johnson (La.-04): “Today’s ruling attempting to disqualify President Trump from the Colorado ballot is nothing but a thinly veiled partisan attack. Regardless of political affiliation, every citizen registered to vote should not be denied the right to support our former president and the individual who is the leader in every poll of the Republican primary. We trust the U.S. Supreme Court will set aside this reckless decision and let the American people decide the next President of the United States.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colo.-03): “This is extreme judicial activism that is designed to suppress the vote and voices of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, which is absolutely unacceptable. I am confident the U.S. Supreme Court will remedy this horrible decision so Coloradans will have the right to cast their ballot for our 45th and 47th President, Donald J. Trump. We will fight this every step of the way!”

Rep. Ronny Jackson (Texas-13): “UNBELIEVABLE! This is what the last days of this nation look like!! What the partisan Colorado Supreme Court has done is CORRUPT, OUTRAGEOUS, and UN-AMERICAN!! They KNOW they can’t beat Trump so they’re RIGGING the election. THIS WON’T STAND! WE WILL BEAT THEM! TRUMP WILL BE BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!”

Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.): “This is insane. In the US, we don’t allow political hacks to kick their 'enemies' off the ballot because they disagree with them. If this is the path that radical Dems choose to weaponize the courts against conservatives, we are no better than the socialist regimes in VZ & Cuba.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.): “The U.S. has put sanctions on other countries for doing exactly what the Colorado Supreme Court has done today.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.-1): “Democrats are trying to imprison their chief political opponent and have now apparently succeeded at removing him from the ballot. This is what dictators do. I’m confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will not allow this egregious ruling to stand. The American people will decide their next president, not activist judges in Colorado.”

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.-13): “The U.S. Supreme Court is going to have a field day tearing apart this opinion.”

Rep. Gregg Steube (Fla.-17): “Not even Jack Smith charged Trump with Insurrection. Yet, 4 liberal judges in Colorado want to tell every voter in the state to vote for Joe Biden. They don’t even want voters in Colorado to have the choice of a candidate. That’s not a democratic republic, that’s a banana republic.”

Sen. Eric Schmitt (Utah): “The Threat to Democracy™️ crowd is afraid of voters actually voting for their preferred candidate. It’s a joke and once again will backfire.”

Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.-03): “They will do everything they can to block Donald Trump from being President again. Really nothing surprises me anymore. But it won’t work. It only emboldens those of us who know America is worth fighting for and that Donald Trump is the fighter we need back in the White House to save America. Bring it on!”

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