GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy pledges to withdraw from Colorado primary after state Supreme Court removes Trump's name from ballot

 December 22, 2023

The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday, in a 4-3 vote, controversially ruled that former President Donald Trump could be removed from the state's Republican primary election ballot under the auspices of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

That decision has been roundly criticized by legal experts and elected Republican officials and prompted GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy to vow to withdraw himself from the Colorado primary ballot unless Trump's name was restored.

The businessman and entrepreneur further called upon the other top Republican candidates -- including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- to follow his lead and similarly withdraw themselves from the Colorado primary ballot in protest of the high court's opinion.

Ramaswamy pledges to withdraw from Colorado primary election

"They have just tried to bar President Trump from the Colorado ballot using an unconstitutional maneuver that is a bastardization of the 14th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution," Ramaswamy said of the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling in a video posted Tuesday to the X social media platform.

"I pledge to withdraw from the Colorado GOP primary ballot unless or until Trump's name is restored," he continued, "and I demand that Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie and Nikki Haley do the same thing, or else these Republicans are simply complicit in this unconstitutional attack on the way we conduct our constitutional republic."

"I refuse to be complicit in that. I think what they are doing is wrong, and I think it is up to Republicans to step up and stand up with a spine for our country's future," Ramaswamy added. "That's really what's at stake -- whether 'we the people' actually have a say in deciding who leads this country."

Trump campaign vows appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

The Associated Press reported that the seven Democrat-appointed justices of the Colorado Supreme Court were split in ruling to overturn a lower court's decision that former President Trump had "incited an insurrection" on Jan. 6, 2021, but declined to bar him from the primary ballot due to uncertainty over whether the 14th Amendment could even be applied to the presidency.

To be sure, Colorado is not a state that is in play for Trump in his 2024 re-election campaign, but the principle of the high court's opinion and actions matter, and there are legitimate concerns that similar 14th Amendment-based anti-Trump lawsuits will now find success in blocking Trump from the primary and general election ballots in other states that are in play for him.

In a statement, the Trump campaign said, "The Colorado Supreme Court issued a completely flawed decision tonight and we will swiftly file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and a concurrent request for a stay of this deeply undemocratic decision. We have full confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court will quickly rule in our favor and finally put an end to these unAmerican lawsuits."

Likewise, Trump's attorney and legal spokeswoman Alina Habba said, "This ruling, issued by the Colorado Supreme Court, attacks the very heart of this nation’s democracy. It will not stand, and we trust that the Supreme Court will reverse this unconstitutional order."

Numerous other Republicans and legal experts voice opposition to ruling

While it doesn't appear that any of the other top Republican presidential candidates have followed Ramaswamy's lead in pledging to withdraw from the Colorado primary unless former President Trump's name is restored as an option for voters, the Trump campaign compiled highly critical statements of opposition to the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling from dozens of elected Republicans and legal experts.

Ramaswamy's withdrawal pledge, admirable as it is for standing in solidarity with the politically persecuted former president, may prove unnecessary and moot, as the Colorado Republican Party, in reply to Ramaswamy's video, posted, "You won't have to because we will withdraw from the Primary as a Party and convert to a pure caucus system if this is allowed to stand."

As for the U.S. Supreme Court, presuming it will intervene in this crucial constitutional matter, the justices will need to act swiftly as the AP reported that there is a deadline of Jan. 5 by which the state of Colorado must print its primary election ballots to be ready for its March 5 primary election date.

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