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Biden says Trump supported an insurrection but courts should decide if that disqualifies him from presidency

By Kevin Liptak and Michael Williams, CNN

Washington (CNN) — President Joe Biden said Wednesday his predecessor Donald Trump “certainly supported an insurrection” but that it was up to the courts whether that disqualifies him from running for president.

The White House and Biden campaign had previously declined to weigh in on the Colorado Supreme Court ruling saying that Trump is disqualified from the 2024 primary ballot in that state because he engaged in insurrection.

“I think it’s self evident” that Trump is an insurrectionist, Biden told reporters after stepping from Air Force One in Milwaukee.

“Whether the 14th Amendment applies, I’ll let the court make that decision,” Biden said.

“But he certainly supported an insurrection. There’s no question about it. None. Zero,” Biden said. “He seems to be doubling down on everything.”

The unprecedented 4-3 ruling, handed down by the court Tuesday night, would be on hold until January 4. Trump will have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court, which could settle the question for the rest of the country.

Election officials in Colorado have asked for the issue to be settled by January 5, which is the statutory deadline to set the list of candidates for the GOP primary scheduled for March 5.

Trump did not “merely incite the insurrection,” the majority wrote in its unsigned opinion,” but “he continued to support it by repeatedly demanding that Vice President (Mike) Pence refuse to perform his constitutional duty and by calling Senators to persuade them to stop the counting of electoral votes.”

“These actions constituted overt, voluntary, and direct participation in the insurrection,” the majority wrote.

The Trump campaign said Tuesday that it will “swiftly file an appeal” of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision.

Following the ruling, congressional Republicans rallied to support Trump, along with one of his GOP primary rivals, Vivek Ramaswamy.

House Speaker Mike Johnson called the ruling a “thinly veiled partisan attack.”

“We trust the US Supreme Court will set aside this reckless decision and let the American people decide the next President of the United States,” said Johnson, a longtime Trump ally who has endorsed the former president in the 2024 race.

Ramaswamy described the ruling as “election interference” and vowed to withdraw himself from the Colorado ballot in support of Trump.

Biden’s remarks on Wednesday kept with the president’s tendencies to defer specific questions about the various legal and court issues surrounding his likely 2024 rival, while also faulting Trump for his role in the insurrection.

Biden has worked to separate himself from the work of his Justice Department, declining to substantively comment on the former president’s various criminal indictments in an apparent effort to avoid allegations of political persecution.

But that hasn’t stopped Biden from sharply criticizing Trump’s role in January 6. Trump and his allies held “a dagger at the throat of America,” following Trump’s 2020 loss, Biden has said, calling some of his predecessor’s comments “flat seditious” earlier this summer.

Speaking during an event in Milwaukee on Wednesday, Biden separately criticized Trump for recent anti-immigrant comments the former president made, in which Trump said immigrants were “poisoning the blood” of the United States.

“You know, we always believed diversity is our strength as a nation,” Biden told the audience at Wisconsin’s Black Chamber of Commerce, before evoking Trump’s comments.

“Our economy and our nation is stronger when we’re tapping into the full, full range of talents in this nation.”

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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