When Trump Announces Candidacy, Watchdog Will File Insurgency Disqualification Challenge

When Donald Trump announces he is running for president, as he should, a watchdog group plans to file a challenge under the 14th Amendment, which prohibits the re-election of officials who participated in or supported an insurgency.

“The evidence that Trump has engaged in insurgency is overwhelming,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement last week. “We are ready, willing and able to take action to ensure that the Constitution is upheld and Trump is prevented from holding office.”

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, enacted after the Civil War, prohibits any official who has sworn an oath to defend the government from being re-elected if he “engaged in an insurrection or rebellion” against the government – or has “provided aid or comfort to his enemies.

CREW sent a letter to Trump on Thursday alerting him to the expected challenge if he announces his bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

“CREW believes that you are disqualified from office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment because you have engaged in an insurgency against the government you are sworn to defend,” the letter reads. “By summoning a violent mob to disrupt the constitutionally mandated transition of presidential power after swearing to defend it, you have rendered yourself ineligible to hold public office again.”

The “evidence that you have engaged in an insurrection as contemplated in the Fourteenth Amendment — including mobilizing, inciting, and aiding those attacking the Capitol — is overwhelming,” the letter adds.

“If you seek elected or appointed office despite your constitutional disqualification … we and others loyal to the Constitution will defend it,” the message warns.

Although a similar action by a group of voters failed earlier this year to block Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) re-election bid, a challenge by CREW and other organizations has succeeded against a New Mexico official in September.

A judge in that state has ruled in response to a lawsuit filed by CREW and others that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin should be removed from office, noting that the attack on the U.S. Capitol was an insurrection and that Griffin’s participation had disqualified him under section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The ruling marked the first time since 1869 that a court has disqualified an official under the amendment — and the first time a court has called the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol an insurrection, noted CREW.


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