Trump’s GOP Rivals Denounce Colorado Ruling, Say Voters Not Judges Should Decide

Trump Ballot Disqualification: What's Next?


Colorado’s State Supreme Court ruled in a 4–3 decision to ban President Trump from the primary election ballot on Dec. 19.

For most of 2023, four Republican presidential candidates have been on a mission to beat former President Donald Trump in the upcoming race for the White House. But by Dec. 20, all four of them had spoken out in his defense to stay in the race and remain on the primary ballot alongside them.

Colorado’s State Supreme Court ruled in a 4–3 decision to ban President Trump from the election ballot on Dec. 19, based on an insurrection clause found in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy each spoke out against the court’s decision.

The last thing we want is judges deciding who can and can’t be on the presidential ballot, Ms. Haley told reporters in Iowa after a campaign event the night the ruling was announced.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Mr. Christie also released a statement that night rejecting the ruling and saying that the voters should be the ones to prevent President Trump from returning to the White House.

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“What I will say is I do not believe Donald Trump should be prevented from being President of the United States by any court,” he said. “I think he should be prevented from being the President of the United States by the voters of this country.”

“I just think what he’s done is horribly wrong and that he has reserved the right that we would give him as voters [the chance] to lead us again,” he said, adding that he hopes his statement stands as proof that he does not hate President Trump at all.

Mr. DeSantis addressed the situation and rejected the ruling during a meeting with Iowa voters on the morning of Dec. 20. In doing so, he made a point of pitching why he was the better presidential candidate.

“There was no trial on any of this,” he said, calling the situation an abuse of power. “They basically just said, ‘You can’t be on the ballot.’” He shared his belief that an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn the ruling and a warning for “what the Left and the media and the Democrats are doing.”

“They are doing all of this stuff to basically solidify support in the primary for him, get him into the general [election], and the whole general election is going to be all this legal stuff,” he said, referring to the array of charges the former president is facing, including insurrection.

Keeping the attention on President Trump’s legal issues, he said, would allow President Biden to “skate through this thing.”

“What they don’t want is to have somebody like me who will make the election not about those other issues, but make the election about the failures of Biden, the failures of the Left, and how we’re going to be able to turn the country around,” he said. “If that’s how the election is framed, we will win.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Ramaswamy took a different approach, pledging to withdraw from Colorado’s GOP primary ballot, and called his fellow candidates to do the same.

“I pledge to withdraw from the Colorado GOP primary ballot until Trump is also allowed to be on the ballot, and I demand that Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley do the same immediately—or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver which will have disastrous consequences for our country,” he said in a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, on the night of the ruling.

Accusing the state’s supreme court of using “an unconstitutional maneuver that is a bastardization of the 14th Amendment,” he said that the clause was put in place to bar people who sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War from serving office.

“I think it’s up to Republicans to step up and stand up with a spine for our country’s future,” he said. “That’s really what’s at stake. Whether we, the people, have a say in deciding who leads this country.”

The other Republican candidates did not return The Epoch Times’s request for comment on whether or not they would accept that challenge.

Colorado’s Republican Party has also indicated that it was prepared to drop the primary election ballot system for a caucus system if the court kept President Trump off of a primary ballot.

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