On Thursday, U.S. presidential candidate and political outsider Vivek Ramaswamy released the following statement denouncing unprecedented efforts by partisan groups to disqualify the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, from the 2024 ballot.
“Having tried just about every trick in the book to eliminate President Trump from running in this election, the left is now deploying a new tactic to bar him from ever holding office again: the 14th Amendment. As someone who is now polling in second or third place in most major national polls, I would be able to more easily win this GOP primary if Trump were eliminated from competition, but that’s not how I want to succeed. I stand on principle over politics, which is why I am sharing the following viewpoint despite the fact that Trump is one of my opponents in this primary:
“Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that any person who has ‘previously taken an oath … as an officer of the United States … to support the Constitution’ is disqualified from holding public office if that person engaged ‘in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.’ Politicized groups are attempting to make Trump ineligible to run for president, arguing he fomented and in fact engaged in insurrection on January 6. This is a perversion of the 14th Amendment.
“The 14th Amendment was part of the ‘Reconstruction Amendments’ that were ratified following the Civil War. It was passed to prohibit former Confederate military and political leaders from holding high federal or state office. These men had clearly taken part in a rebellion against the United States: the Civil War. Participants in the events of January 6 did not. And Trump, of course, was not even among them. That makes it all the more absurd that a left-wing group in Colorado is asking a federal court to disqualify the former president on the same grounds, arguing that his stump speeches on and before January 6 equate to rebellion against the United States.
“And there’s another legal problem: Trump is not a former ‘officer of the United States,’ as that term is used in the Constitution, meaning Section 3 does not apply. As the Supreme Court explained in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2010), an ‘officer of the United States’ is someone appointed by the president to aid him in his duties under Article II, Section 2. The term does not apply to elected officials, and certainly not to the president himself. The Framers of the 14th Amendment would be shocked and appalled to see their narrow provision—intended to bar former U.S officials who switched to the Confederacy from seeking public office—being weaponized by a sitting president and his political allies to prevent a former president from seeking reelection.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: President Biden and his allies are engaging in election interference of the highest order. Yesterday’s filing is just the latest in a string of baseless lawsuits designed to silence political opponents and swing the election for Joe Biden, this time by depriving Americans of the right to vote for their candidate of choice. The judge assigned to this case should immediately toss it out. Our country is becoming unrecognizable to anyone who understands our Constitution, and we don’t have long to fix it.”