Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican presidential candidate, said Sunday that former President Donald Trump may not qualify to be president again under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Hutchinson, who has been critical of Trump, said he believes Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, likely violated the amendment, which bars anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding federal office
.”I’m not even sure he’s qualified to be the next president of the United States,” Hutchinson said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And so you can’t be asking us to support somebody that’s not perhaps even qualified under our Constitution.”
The 14th Amendment was adopted after the Civil War to ensure that former Confederate leaders could not hold office. It states that “no person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Hutchinson said he believes Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 meet the definition of insurrection or rebellion. He pointed to Trump’s speech to his supporters before the attack, in which he repeated false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.
Hutchinson also said Trump did nothing to stop the violence once it began.
“I think there should be a court declaration,” Hutchinson said. “And so there would have to be a separate lawsuit that would be filed, in which there would be a finding that the former president engaged in insurrection, and that would disqualify him.”
Hutchinson’s comments are the latest in a growing number of legal challenges to Trump’s potential candidacy.
A group of Democratic lawmakers has filed a lawsuit arguing that Trump should be barred from running for office again under the 14th Amendment.
A federal judge in California is considering a request to block Trump from running for president in 2024.