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GOP Lawmakers in 3 States Seek to Dubiously Deem Biden an Insurrectionist

While it’s evident to many why Trump could be deemed an insurrectionist, the lawmakers’ claims on Biden are murkier.

President Joe Biden listens to a question shouted from the press as he arrives at the White House on December 19, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Three Republican legislators have announced plans to deny President Joe Biden the right to appear on their respective state’s ballot.

The plans are a direct response to a Colorado Supreme Court ruling last week deeming former President Donald Trump to be ineligible to run for office on the state’s ballot next year due to his engagement in and/or aiding of an insurrection against the U.S. Constitution on January 6, 2021.

In a statement to the far right website Breitbart, Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Pennsylvania), Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Georgia) and Rep. Cory McGarr (R-Arizona) explicitly cited the court ruling from last week as their motivation. The GOP representatives described the court’s decision as “lawfare,” despite strong evidence demonstrating Trump did indeed engage in insurrectionist behavior.

“The absurdity of radical Democrat judges removing Donald Trump from the ballot in Colorado will be a stain on the American political system for decades,” the three lawmakers claimed. “By their very own interpretation of the law, Joe Biden is 100% not eligible to run for political office.”

The rationales given by GOP reps are political and have nothing to do with insurrection. Instead, they are motivated by disagreements over policies on immigration and border security, as well as “his alleged corrupt family business dealings with China,” which Republicans have yet to actually demonstrate beyond innuendo and unsubstantiated assertions.

The absurdity of these lawmakers’ claims is reflected in their use of red-baiting terminology, stating in their justification for going after Biden that “communists” are currently running the country.

This effort to disqualify Biden from being able to run isn’t the only action being taken by Republicans in the wake of the Colorado ruling — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), for instance, has similarly said he may try to block Biden from his state’s ballot, citing the same dubious claim that Biden’s border policies make him an insurrectionist.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that no person can run for political office in the U.S. again if they had previously taken an oath “to support the Constitution of the United states” and then subsequently “engaged in insurrection” or aided those who had. While evidence that Biden has violated this part of the Constitution is non-existent, for many, including the Colorado Supreme Court, it is clear that Trump, indeed, has engaged in insurrectionist behavior.

Trump, for example, used incendiary rhetoric to rile up a mob of his loyalists on January 6, 2021, and ordered them to descend on the Capitol to protest in favor of overturning his loss to Biden in the 2020 presidential election, where they subsequently breached the building and threatened the lives of lawmakers who chose not to illegally keep Trump in office. The former president also used that attack to pressure lawmakers to help him overturn the results of the Electoral College.

Legal experts have said that Trump’s use of a fake electors plot to attempt to “win” the Electoral College, too, could also be seen as an attempt at insurrection.

A snap poll from YouGov the day after the Colorado Supreme Court ruling found that 54 percent of Americans approved of the court’s action, with only 35 percent opposed to it. Although quick turnaround polls such as this one aren’t the most scientifically accurate, the poll suggests that a significant portion of the U.S. electorate likely approves of pursuing this option in other states to block Trump from being president again.

Other states may announce whether Trump will be disqualified in those jurisdictions from running for president again. In Michigan, for example, a similar case is running through the court system wherein voters there, like in Colorado, are demanding Trump be deemed an insurrectionist. In Maine, state Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) is expected to announce this week whether Trump is disqualified from running there.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to take up the ruling issued by the Colorado Supreme Court, which issued a temporary stay on its own ruling until January 4.

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