Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) criticized the Maine secretary of state’s decision to remove former President Trump from the Maine primary ballot Thursday, arguing that thoughts on the Jan. 6 Capitol riots should be between the voter and the ballot box.
“Maine voters should decide who wins the election — not a Secretary of State chosen by the Legislature,” Collins wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “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.”
Maine Secretary of State Shanna Bellows (D) decided Trump’s Jan. 6 conduct violated the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause,” which prevents those who assist in rebellions against the country from holding office.
The landmark decision makes Maine the second state to remove Trump from their primary ballot, after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the same last week.
The 14th Amendment bars those who have “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. Bellows and the Colorado court said Trump’s actions surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riots count under that clause.
Bellows said Trump “used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters” on Jan. 6 and “was aware of the likelihood for violence and at least initially supported its use given he both encouraged it with incendiary rhetoric and took no timely action to stop it.”
Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) also disagreed with Bellows’ ruling, saying Trump should still be on the ballot, even though he believes the former president is responsible for the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
“I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection. I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the United States,” Golden said in a statement. “However, we are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should not be allowed on the ballot.”
The Trump campaign also criticized the decision, and pledged to appeal it.
“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said. “Make no mistake, these partisan election interference efforts are a hostile assault on American democracy.”
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