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Maine removes Trump from ballot, Dean: ‘Trump’s in trouble’

By Jake Beardslee · December 29, 2023

In brief…

  • Maine Secretary of State barred Trump from primary ballot due to Jan 6 conduct
  • Cited 14th Amendment ban on insurrectionists holding office
  • Trump campaign plans appeal, expects Supreme Court to take up issue
  • Decision follows similar ruling in Colorado, draws criticism from GOP
Maine's Secretary of State removed Trump from the state's primary ballot due to his role on January 6, prompting backlash from Republicans.  Michael Vadon/Wikimedia

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows made the controversial decision on Thursday to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s primary ballot, citing his conduct surrounding the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots as a violation of the 14th Amendment.

John Dean, former White House attorney to President Nixon, stated in a CNN interview that he believes the Maine ruling will be “very difficult to overturn,” calling it a “solid” decision. Dean denounced the Trump campaign’s criticism that the move was “election interference,” stating “There was ample due process in this proceeding, and they just lost by a straight, honest reading of the 14th Amendment…Trump’s in trouble.”

Bellows found that Trump’s false claims of election fraud, his rhetoric that inflamed supporters, and his failure to stop the events amounted to engagement in insurrection under the amendment.

The Trump campaign has pledged to appeal. The Supreme Court is also expected to take up a similar case from Colorado barring Trump from the ballot. However, Dean believes the high court will uphold the decisions, saying the amendment’s language seems clearly applicable to Trump’s actions on January 6th.

Bellows stated that Trump “used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters” and “was aware of the likelihood for violence and at least initially supported its use.” She concluded this met the Constitutional definition of insurrection.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine criticized Bellows’ decision, stating “it should be overturned.”