Two years after supporters of former President Donald Trump's "Big Lie" stormed the U.S. Capitol, demonstrators gathered in Colorado on Friday to remind the American people—especially election officials—that "Trump is disqualified" from running for public office under Section 3 of the 14 Amendment to the Constitution.
Since January 6, 2021, some elected officials and advocacy groups have drawn attention to that section of the amendment, which bars from office anyone who has taken an oath to support the Constitution and then "engaged in insurrection or rebellion," to call for excluding Trump and some congressional Republicans from government.
"Trump's actions were a violation of his oath of office and therefore make him constitutionally ineligible for any future run for office."
"Insurrectionists do not belong in office," Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said Friday. "And they do not belong on the ballot going forward. Elected officials who directly aided and abetted the deadly assault on our nation's democracy on January 6 must be held accountable."
The groups Free Speech for People (FSFP) and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund have launched TrumpIsDisqualified.org, a campaign pressuring secretaries of state and other U.S. election officials to exclude supporters of the insurrection—particularly the twice-impeached former president—from any future ballots.
As part of the "Jan. 6th Justice: Our Freedoms, Our Votes" day of action on Friday, Mi Familia Vota held a rally in Denver demanding that Democratic Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold use her power to keep Trump—who formally launched his current presidential campaign in November—off the ballot in 2024.
"Donald Trump violated his oath of office when he led the charge to overturn the results of the 2020 election," declared Héctor Sánchez Barba, executive director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota, a national group that works to build Latino political power through civic participation.
"His actions only confirmed what the Latino community has long known: He is dangerous," Sanchez said of Trump. "The disqualification clause in the 14th Amendment is clear: Anyone who violates their oath of office is ineligible to run for higher office in the future."
"Secretaries of state have the power to bar Trump," he stressed. "There is ample evidence as to why he is not fit to hold office again, now all we are asking is for a secretary of state to act."
Ahead of the "divided and disoriented" GOP's disastrous takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives this week, the Democratic-led select committee that investigated the Capitol insurrection last month unanimously referred Trump to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on four criminal charges.
"The bipartisan House January 6th committee showed that Trump engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election, culminating with his incitement of violent insurrection," FSFP campaign director Alexandra Flores-Quilty said Friday.
"The insurrectionist disqualification clause is clear: Trump's actions were a violation of his oath of office and therefore make him constitutionally ineligible for any future run for office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment," she added. "Secretaries of state now have a duty to uphold the Constitution and protect our democracy by ensuring Trump is barred from the ballot."
Even before the House select committee referrals, Trump faced DOJ investigations into his handling of classified documents and his role in the 2021 attack on the Capitol. After Trump announced his 2024 campaign, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith, a longtime federal prosecutor, as a special counsel for those probes.
FSFP legal director Ron Fein, president John Bonifaz, and chairman and senior legal adviser Ben Clements, jointly argued Friday in a piece for Jurist that "Garland has done something quietly sneaky" with his appointment of Smith.
"By announcing a special counsel appointment predicated on Trump's candidacy," the trio wrote, "then excluding from the special counsel's scope the 'shelf-ready' 'obstruction of justice crimes already identified by Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller and campaign finance crimes already identified by Manhattan prosecutors (in the Trump administration, no less), Garland is telling us between the lines that that he is giving up on all of Trump's pre-2020 crimes."
"Of course, Trump must be held accountable, in a timely fashion, for the crimes within the special counsel's scope," they added. "But Garland's absolution of Trump's earlier crimes—and unwillingness to even state openly, let alone provide a rationale, that he was doing so—is a serious blow to the once cherished principle that no one, not even the president, is above the law."
As for other political leaders who contributed to the Capitol attack, although the select committee last month referred Republican Congressmen Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) to the House Committee on Ethics for defying subpoenas, they are unlikely to face any consequences in a chamber narrowly controlled by the GOP, no matter who ultimately becomes speaker.
The House adjourned Friday afternoon after 13 failed speaker votes throughout the week—the most since before the U.S. Civil War—with plans to return at 10:00 pm ET. McCarthy just needs to flip two of the six Republicans who remain opposed to him—Biggs along with Reps. Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Eli Crane (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.), and Matt Rosendale (Mont.)—to secure enough support to be elected to the leadership post.
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams and was authored by Jessica Corbett.