Donald Trump Calls The Jan. 6 Attack An ‘Insurrection’ – But Blames Nancy Pelosi For Inciting It

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Marianique Santos / FlickrBlink O'fanaye

Donald Trump isn’t taking responsibility for what happened on Jan. 6, but he is finally referring to it as an ‘insurrection’ – though his lawyer doesn’t seem to agree. His comments come as the Supreme Court decides whether or not he’s allowed to run for re-election under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Here’s everything you need to know!

What Is Section 3 Of The 14th Amendment?

The 14th Amendment is one of the 27 amendments to the Constitution of the United States. It was ratified on July 9, 1868 – two years after the Senate passed it. The landmark legislation grants citizenship to anyone ‘born or naturalized in the US’ and ensures all citizens are given ‘equal protection under the laws.’

Source: Origins

Section 3, which is gaining a lot of attention this election cycle, bars anyone who ‘engaged in insurrection’ or has ‘given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof’ from holding any civil, military, or elected office – unless approved by two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Colorado Supreme Court Throws Trump Off Ballot

On Dec. 19, 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling against Donald Trump – officially barring him from appearing on the state’s Republican primary ballot. We saw something similar in Minnesota and Michigan, but those cases were both dismissed.

Source: Flickr/Jeffrey Beall

It was a first-of-its-kind decision and one the Justices didn’t take lightly – as they wrote in the decision. “We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction,” they added.

Trump Takes The Matter To The US Supreme Court

Trump and his legal team asked SCOTUS to get involved in early January – and they did. On Thursday (Feb. 8), they heard arguments from both sides. Jonathan Mitchell is the attorney representing Trump, while Jason Murray and Shannon Stevenson are supporting Colorado.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

It didn’t go very well for Colorado. A strong majority of the Justices (most of whom are conservative) were skeptical of the idea – and even feared what might happen if states were allowed to eliminate certain people from the ballot. They won’t have an official decision for another few weeks, but it looks like Trump might win this one.

Trump’s Lawyer Calls Jan. 6 A ‘Riot

During the arguments, Mitchell (Trump’s lawyer) was adamant that the attack on the US Capitol – which occurred on Jan. 6, 2021 – wasn’t an insurrection. While he admitted the events were ‘shameful, criminal, and violent,’ he doesn’t believe they ‘qualify as insurrection as that term is used in Section 3.’

Source: Georgejason from Getty Images via Canva

He further argued that the attack ‘did not involve an organized attempt to overthrow or resist the U.S. government through violence.’ Of course, he also added that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment doesn’t explicitly include the ‘president’ in its disability – and Trump technically wasn’t an ‘officer of the United States.’

Trump Calls Jan. 6 An ‘Insurrection’ Led By Nancy Pelosi

While his lawyer called it a ‘riot,’ Donald Trump took a different stance. While speaking in front of reporters outside Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump shockingly referred to the Jan. 6 attack as an ‘insurrection,’ though he failed to take responsibility for his rhetoric.

Source: Reuters/Doug Mills

“I heard, and I watched, and the one thing I’ll say is they kept saying about what I said right after the insurrection, which I think was an insurrection caused by Nancy Pelosi,” Trump said. “I said peacefully and patriotically… Take a look at the statements I made before and after, and you’ll see a whole different dialogue.”

Pelosi Responds To Trump’s Wild Claim

It didn’t take long for people to fact-check Trump’s claim – and they found that there’s no way Pelosi had anything to do with the Jan. 6 attack. In fact, it wouldn’t make any sense for her to incite a mob of Trump supporters to overthrow an election in which her fellow Democrat won.

Source: Wikimedia/Jewish Democratic Council of America

One spokesperson came forward and made that point clear. “No matter what unhinged lies Trump spews about the insurrection he instigated, as numerous independent fact-checkers have confirmed, Speaker Pelosi did not plan her own assassination,” they wrote in a statement.

Supreme Court Has Three Options

As of right now, the fate of Trump’s re-election rests in the hands of the Supreme Court of the United States. They have three options, starting with the one we saw Colorado make in December – disqualify Trump from the ballot, deeming him unable to run again.

Source: P_Wei from Getty Images Signature via Canva

The second option is to decide that Trump isn’t an ‘insurrectionist’ and, therefore, is allowed to run for re-election – reversing what Colorado decided in December. The third option is to send the issue to lawmakers and voters, if they find that it’s not something to be decided by a court.

Reps. Gaetz and Stefanik Support Trump With Resolution

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) gathered a group of 65 House Republicans, including Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), to push a resolution that says Trump ‘did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.’ They urged other members of Congress ‘to show where they stand on this question.’

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Sen. JD Vance (D-Ohio) also voiced his support for Trump being on the ballot. “Democrats are abusing our judicial system to disenfranchise millions of Americans and take Donald Trump off the ballot,” he said in a statement. “It’s an incredibly dangerous precedent they’re setting — all based on a meritless legal theory about the application of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Trump Is Currently The Leading Republican Candidate

As of Feb. 10, Donald Trump has a commanding lead over Nikki Haley in the 2024 Republican Primary. With New Hampshire, Iowa, the Virgin Islands, and Nevada results in, Trump has 63 of a possible 92 delegates – Haley has 17, while Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy (both withdrawn) have a combined 12 delegates.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

If Trump wants to win the nomination, he needs to win 1,215 delegates – which means he’s just over 5% there. A long way to go, but the next state up is South Carolina on Feb. 24 – and there are 50 delegates up for grabs. Of course, all the excitement happens on March 5 when 16 states/territories hit the polls (including Texas and California).

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Ryan Handson

Written by Ryan Handson

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