Lawmakers slam Maine's decision to remove Trump from primary ballot

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said that while she voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his 2021 impeachment trial, he should be allowed to remain on Maine's primary ballot. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 4 | Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said that while she voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his 2021 impeachment trial, he should be allowed to remain on Maine's primary ballot. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle slammed Maine's decision to disqualify Donald Trump from the state's 2024 primary ballot due to his alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Thursday's decision by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to remove Trump's name from the ballot sent ripples across Washington, while throwing another curve ball at the former president with the first primary in Iowa nearly two weeks away.


Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who voted to convict Trump in his 2021 impeachment trial, wrote on X that the decision by Bellows to omit Trump from the state ballot should be reversed.

"Maine voters should decide who wins the election -- not a secretary of state chosen by the Legislature," Collins wrote, echoing other Republicans. "The secretary of state's decision would deny thousands of Mainers the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice, and it should be overturned."


Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, who voted to impeach Trump over the 2021 uprising, issued a statement Thursday night, urging state officials to allow the legal process to play out before taking action to officially remove Trump.

"I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 insurrection," Golden wrote. "I do not believe he should be re-elected as president of the United States. However, we are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot."

Bellows cited the so-called "insurrection clause" in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to disqualify Trump from seeking the Republican nomination in Maine less than two weeks after Colorado became the first state to declare Trump ineligible as he seeks a second term.

The same day, Bellows' office said her decision would not be enforced until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the actions by Colorado's high court and Maine's secretary of state.

So far, most courts have sided with Trump as Michigan, Arizona and Minnesota all ruled against petitions to disqualify the former president.

Following Maine's decision, House Oversight Committee chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said he was "not surprised" by the move, adding that he expected other Democrat-led states to "pull stunts like this" in the weeks ahead.


"I fear we're going to see this happen in more states," Comer told Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz.

During the program, Comer claimed that over the Christmas holiday he spoke with several constituents in his district who blamed Democrats for Trump's current predicament.

"They think it's absurd what the Democrats are trying to do in blue states in banning President Trump from the ballot," Comer said. "I mean, this is clearly election interference," he added.

"So I think that the Democrats are trying to do everything they can, in a last-ditch effort to disrupt the Republican momentum right now heading into the presidential election. I think this is another example of that."

Maine's decision also reverberated on the campaign trail, with Republican candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking with Chaffetz about the issue from Iowa, saying the ballot quagmire in two states opens "Pandora's box."

"Well, the idea that one bureaucrat in an executive position can simply unilaterally disqualify someone from office, that turns on its head every notion of constitutional due process that this country's always abided by for over 200 years," DeSantis said before suggesting a similar scenario for President Joe Biden.


"Can you have a Republican Secretary of State disqualify Biden from the ballot? Because he's let in 8 million people, illegally -- a massive invasion, including from enemies of our country, places like Iran, China, Middle East have poured in with his knowledge and ascent basically. So it really opens up Pandora's box."

Latest Headlines