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Trump is off the 2024 ballot in Colorado – here’s how his fellow candidates feel

Colorado became the first state to prohibit Donald Trump from appearing on the primary ballot sparking anger among Republicans

Ariana Baio
Wednesday 20 December 2023 17:58 GMT
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Donald Trump disqualified from Colorado’s 2024 ballot

Nearly all of the 2024 Republican presidential candidates were quick to defend their political rival, former president Donald Trump, after the Colorado Supreme Court disqualified him from the state’s ballot on Tuesday evening.

The state’s supreme court unprecedently ruled that Mr Trump was ineligible to appear on the ballot under Section Three of the 14th Amendment, otherwise known as the insurrection clause. The court said the provision applied to the office of the president and Mr Trump’s actions leading up to January 6 were part of his efforts to aid an insurrection.

Despite Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy fighting Mr Trump for votes in the upcoming election, the four all said the Colorado court’s ruling was wrong.

The only person who did not was Asa Hutchinson.

Mr Ramaswamy, a tech entrepreneur, went as far as to say he would remove his own name from the Colorado primary ballot to stand in solidarity with the former president.

The candidates’ responses largely fell in line with other Republicans’ reactions. Here’s what they said.

Nikki Haley

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks during a town hall, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Nevada, Iowa. (AP)

Ms Haley told reporters in Iowa that while she does not believe Mr Trump should be president, it should be up to the voters to decide if he obtains the office, not judges.

“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,” Ms Haley said.

“We don’t need to have judges making these decisions, we need voters to make these decisions so I want to see this in the hands of the voters. We’re going to win this the right way, we’re going to do what we need to do,” she added.

The former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador said “the last thing” the country needs is judges deciding who can be on the ballot.

Ron DeSantis

Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to guests during the Scott County Fireside Chat at the Tanglewood Hills Pavilion on December 18, 2023 (Getty Images)

The Florida governor insinuated the ruling was a politically motivated means to try and hurt the president in a tweet.

“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,” Mr DeSantis wrote.

He added that the US Supreme Court should reverse the ruling.

Chris Christie

Republican presidential candidate former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a "Tell It Like It Is" town hall at the Bedford Event Center on December 19, 2023 in Bedford, New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

Mr Chrisite, the former New Jersey governor, has been highly critical of Mr Trump and has run his campaign largely to serve as an alternate to the former president.

But he told voters in New Hampshire that Mr 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,” Mr Christie said.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Republican presidential candidate businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra's, R-Iowa, Faith and Family with the Feenstras event, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, in Sioux Center, Iowa (AP)

Mr Ramaswamy, a vocal supporter of Mr Trump, posted a two-minute-long video to X and issued a lengthy statement through his campaign defending the former president.

“This is what an actual attack on democracy looks like: in an un-American, unconstitutional, and unprecedented decision, a cabal of Democrat judges are barring Trump from the ballot in Colorado,” Mr Ramaswamy wrote in his statement.

He also pledged to withdraw from the Colorado Republican primary and called on his fellow candidates to do the same “or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver”.

Asa Hutchinson

Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks during the 2023 First in the Nation Leadership Summit on October 14, 2023 in Nashua, New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

The former Arkansas governor was the only 2024 candidate to not defend the former president, saying “the factual finding that he supported insurrection will haunt his candidacy.”

Mr Hutchinson said he raised similar concerns about Mr Trump’s ballot eligibility during the first GOP debate, the only one Mr Hutchinson qualified for and participated in.

During the August debate, Mr Hutchinson was asked if he would support the former president should he be the Republican National Committee nominee, but the former governor said Mr Trump could be disqualified from being president due to his involvement in January 6.

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