The US state of Maine on Thursday blocked former president Donald Trump from its Republican presidential primary ballot, the second state to disqualify him over his role in the January 2021 assault on the US Capitol.
Maine’s top election official, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, decided in favor of the citizens who had claimed that Trump should be constitutionally barred from seeking re-election after trying to upend the 2020 election.
Bellows said in her decision that the January 6 attack “occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President.”
“The US Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government and (Maine law) requires me to act in response,” read the decision, which came in response to challenges filed by a handful of Maine voters.
Maine joins Colorado, where the state supreme court this month found Trump ineligible for the presidency, moves that will certainly be challenged in the US Supreme Court.
Bellows said she was suspending the effect of her decision pending any court appeal by Trump.
The decisions in both states invoked the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which bars from office anyone formerly sworn to protect the country who later engages in insurrection.
“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” wrote Bellows, a Democrat. “I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the 14th Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”
Later on Thursday, California’s top election official declined to remove Trump from the presidential primary ballot in the most populous US state, defying pressure from fellow Democrats.
– ‘Attempted theft of an election’ –
Trump’s campaign quickly slammed Bellows’s decision as “attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter” and called her a “virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat.”
“These partisan election interference efforts are a hostile assault on American democracy,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement, accusing President Joe Biden and Democrats of “relying on the force of government institutions to protect their grip on power.”
Cheung said Trump would appeal the decision.
Source: The Punch