Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia has asserted that there is a strong legal argument to employ the 14th Amendment to bar former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot, pointing to Trump’s actions related to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol as the basis for such a move.
In the aftermath of the January 6th events, Trump faced impeachment by the House of Representatives on charges of inciting an insurrection in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. The impeachment vote saw 10 Republicans and all Democrats voting in favor of impeaching him. Although Trump was acquitted by the Senate, the events of that day continued to cast a shadow over his political future.
Senator Kaine, in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos, argued that the attack on the Capitol was specifically intended to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power, as laid out in the Constitution. He pointed to a section of the 14th Amendment which states that individuals who, while in office, engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution are ineligible for future office, unless granted amnesty by a two-thirds vote of Congress.
“In my view, the attack on the Capitol that day was designed for a particular purpose at a particular moment, and that was to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power of as is laid out in the Constitution,” Kaine said Sunday in an interview with ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “So I think there’s a powerful argument to be made.”
“The language is specific,” Kaine argued, referring to a section of the amendment that states that someone isn’t eligible for future office if, while they were previously in office, they took an oath to support the Constitution but then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or [gave] aid or comfort to the enemies thereof
While legal scholars and advocacy groups share the belief that this provision could apply to Trump, similar efforts against other Republicans have not succeeded. Trump’s campaign has previously labeled the potential use of the 14th Amendment as “blatant election interference.”
Kaine, who was also the vice-presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, revealed that there had been discussions among his congressional colleagues about using the 14th Amendment to remove Trump from office instead of pursuing a second impeachment after January 6th. He suggested at the time that this approach might have been a more productive course of action.
However, Kaine cautioned that Democrats should not rely solely on this legal maneuver and emphasized the importance of winning the 2024 elections. He underscored the significance of winning legislative races in his home state of Virginia in 2023, which would send a message about the party’s prospects in the following year’s elections. President Joe Biden has directed the Democratic National Committee to invest $1.2 million in these races to support campaign staffing and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Additionally, Senator Kaine criticized several 2024 Republican presidential contenders for their unwavering support of Trump, even in the event of a conviction for a crime. He argued that such a stance demonstrated a “complete lack of a moral compass,” questioning their fitness to lead the nation. Kaine’s comments came in response to the ongoing legal challenges Trump faces and his ties with Biden in recent polling.