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Press Release

Officials Who Engaged in Insurrection Can Be Disqualified from Holding Office

Former President Donald Trump is not fit for public office, and government officials across the country can take steps to prevent him from holding office in the future.
(Illustration: Renzo Velez / POGO; Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Media Contacts: Liz Hempowicz, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), [email protected]; or Caitlin MacNeal, Communications Director at POGO, [email protected]

(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump is not fit for public office, and government officials across the country can take steps to prevent him from holding office in the future. With Trump’s announcement of a 2024 presidential run, officials must determine whether he should be barred from office under the Constitution’s disqualification clause.

As we stated back in 2021, the former president’s attempts to undermine the nation’s election process and fuel the unrest that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol proved that he is not fit to lead the country. We called on Congress to impeach and convict Trump for those actions.

Now, Congress and other government leaders have other tools at their disposal.

As we wrote in a recent report, the Constitution’s disqualification clause can and should be used against any office holder who engaged in the January 2021 insurrection. Crucially, Congress does not need to pass a new law to enable officials to enforce this clause of the Constitution.

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack will soon conclude its thorough investigation. It should make clear in its final report that the Constitution’s disqualification clause can be enforced without new laws, and it should detail, and make public, all available evidence regarding the insurrection in January 2021. If it finds that Trump engaged in constitutionally disqualifying behavior, officials in state and federal government should act quickly to enforce that disqualification.

Various state laws empower state officials to determine before an election takes place that an individual is unqualified to hold public office if a challenger petitions the state. The U.S. attorney general and the U.S. attorney for Washington, DC, can also challenge an individual’s right to hold public office after an election takes place.

“Former President Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy,” said Liz Hempowicz, vice president of public policy and government affairs at the Project On Government Oversight. “The Constitution provides a clear imperative to prevent office holders who engage in insurrection from returning to government, and we must use the available processes to enforce that disqualification against any office holder to whom it applies.”