Congressional GOP file resolution declaring Trump 'did not engage in insurrection' in bid to thwart 14th Amendment lawsuits

 February 7, 2024

Former President Donald Trump has faced concerted efforts from activists nationwide to have him disqualified and removed from state election ballots under the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment due to his having "engaged in insurrection" by way of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021.

Some of Trump's closest allies in Congress are now pushing back against those ballot removal efforts with the introduction of a resolution that explicitly declares that the former president "did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States," The Hill reported.

The likely goal of the resolution is to undermine the foundational arguments of the formal complaints and lawsuits filed in dozens of different states that allege Trump is disqualified from holding public office under the "insurrection clause" of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, with one of those cases -- from Colorado -- set to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

"Trump did not engage in insurrection or rebellion"

The resolution, which was introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), consists of little more than a single paragraph that states, "Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that former President Donald J. Trump did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or give aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

The measure, which would be non-binding on Congress if passed, is largely symbolic in its clear opposition to the 14th Amendment-related ballot removal efforts, and is emblematic of the level of support the former Republican president enjoys among the House GOP.

According to a press release from Gaetz, at least 65 other House Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution and a similarly-worded companion bill was filed in the Senate by Trump ally Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH).

Gaetz and Vance explain reason behind "insurrection" resolution

Rep. Gaetz on Tuesday led a press conference to announce the filing of the resolution while surrounded by 25 other co-sponsors of the legislation that is intended to absolve and protect former President Trump from the accusations that he incited, inspired, and led an "insurrection" against the U.S. government via the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

"We are here today to authoritatively express that President Trump did not commit an insurrection and we believe Congress has a unique role in making that declaration," Gaetz said. "It's not the job of the States and especially not the job of some bureaucrats in Colorado to make this assessment and interfere with the rights of voters to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice."

"The very experts who often get on television and talk about securing democracy seem to be the first to want to then remove a candidate from the ballot because they are afraid that he is too popular," the Florida congressman added. "And now it's time for members of the House and Senate to show where they stand on this question. We and the former president welcome and expect many more co-sponsors in the coming days and look forward to a floor vote."

Sen. Vance said in a statement, "From the President on down, Democrats are abusing our judicial system to disenfranchise millions of Americans and take Donald Trump off the ballot."

"It’s an incredibly dangerous precedent they're setting -- all based on a meritless legal theory about the application of the Fourteenth Amendment," the Ohio senator added. "It's time for Congress to send a clear signal that their efforts will not succeed. The American people deserve the right to select our next president."

Stefanik "honored" to defend Trump via "insurrection" resolution

Also joining Rep. Gaetz in sponsoring the resolution was Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the chair of the House Republican Conference, who said during the press conference, "The American People are smart. They know that the weaponized attacks of radical, Far Left prosecutors and Joe Biden’s Department of Justice against President Donald Trump are nothing more than a targeted, political witch hunt used to further their own extreme, Far Left political agenda and hijack the will of the American people come election day."

"As President Donald Trump continues to dominate in the polls, Extreme Democrats will stop at nothing in attempt to prevent President Donald Trump from returning to the White House, and the Democrats are shredding the Constitution in the process," she continued. "Joe Biden claims that democracy is on the ballot, yet the American people know that it is Joe Biden and Democrats who are openly attacking democracy."

The New York congresswoman added, "I am honored to stand as an original cosponsor on Congressman Gaetz’s resolution that President Donald Trump did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States. That is a fact. Rogue, Far Left Democrat operatives are attempting to use this lie to illegally take President Trump off the ballot."

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