Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is among almost two hundred Republican senators and representatives who have signed on to a Supreme Court brief that asks the justices to rule in favour of former President Donald Trump on the matter of whether or not he can be on the ballot in Colorado for the 2024 election.
A Colorado judge had blocked former president Donald Trump from running on the Republican primary ballot in the state due to his involvement in the attacks on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and the Supreme judge agreed to reconsider that decision in December. The 14th Amendment forbids “any office… under the United States” to someone who has “engaged in insurrection,” which the Colorado court emphasised.
Along with McConnell and forty-six other Republican senators, the brief was spearheaded by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. They claim that the Colorado court ruling violates the authority of Congress.
The question of whether the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 constituted an insurrection was central to the Colorado court’s ruling, but the Republican brief fails to express any opinion on the matter. A large portion of the 37-page document was devoted by lawmakers to doubting Trump’s culpability for the events of that day.
“It is hard to imagine an actual insurrectionist quickly asking for peace and encouraging disbandment,” the group argues, focussing on one of Trump’s numerous acts that day to guide the crowd.
The fact that McConnell has consistently maintained his stance from the weeks following the January 6th incident, in which he accused Trump directly of inciting the violence, makes his signing all the more noteworthy.
During his attempt to reverse the 2020 presidential election results in December 2020, Republicans on Capitol Hill rallied with Trump in significant numbers at the Supreme Court. Before the actual vote on January 6th, when over half of House Republicans supported the attempt, their signatures were on the previous brief.
Maine is one of several states considering excluding Trump on the ballot; a judge in the state halted a decision to do so on Wednesday in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision, which will have implications for other states considering similar measures.