Dozens of House Democrats lined up behind legislation that would bar former President Donald Trump from holding office again.
The bill, introduced Thursday by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), aims to use Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to get the job done, accusing Trump of orchestrating an insurrection with the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, which briefly disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“Donald Trump very clearly engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021 with the intention of overturning the lawful and fair results of the 2020 election. You don’t get to lead a government you tried to destroy,” Cicilline said in a statement touting how the legislation is packed with testimony and evidence to make the case against the 45th president.
Forty Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors. The legislation was introduced weeks after Trump announced his 2024 presidential election campaign, setting up would could be a rematch against Biden, who has said he intends to seek reelection.
Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and former impeachment manager, cites language from Section 3 of the Fourteen Amendment, which focuses on disqualification from holding office: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Whether such a bill will get a vote remains to be seen. In January, its chances would take a nosedive as Republicans take over the lower chamber after they won a majority of seats in the 2022 midterm elections.
Trump was impeached by the Democrat-led House in January 2021 on a charge that he incited an insurrection, but he was acquitted by the then-GOP-controlled Senate. Still, Cicilline made his case in a press release, citing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who voted against conviction but criticized Trump after the acquital.
“Even Mitch McConnell admits that Trump bears responsibility, saying on the Senate floor that ‘[t]here’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.’ The 14th Amendment makes clear that based on his past behavior, Donald Trump is disqualified from ever holding federal office again and, under Section 5, Congress has the power to pass legislation to implement this prohibition.”
The House January 6 Committee is preparing to hold its final meeting on Monday, where members are expected to vote on whether to ask the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against Trump over the Capitol riot and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Regardless of that vote, a special counsel is already leading Justice Department inquiries into Trump related to the 2020 election as well as Trump’s handling of documents after leaving office. Trump has broadly denied any wrongdoing.