California Lt. Gov. calls for state to ‘explore every legal option’ to remove Trump from ‘24 ballot

A day after the Colorado Supreme Court disqualified former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s ballots in 2024, California Lieutenant Gov. Eleni Kounalakis is asking the Golden State’s Secretary of State to “explore every legal option” to do the same.

Kounalakis sent a letter to Secretary of State Shirley Weber, dated Wednesday, Dec. 20, and referencing Colorado’s recent ruling which stated Trump was ineligible to appear on the state’s ballot as a presidential candidate because of his role in “inciting an insurrection” on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“This decision is about honoring the rule of law in our country and protecting the fundamental pillars of our democracy,” Kounalakis, who launched a campaign to run for California governor in 2026, wrote. “Specifically, the Colorado Supreme Court held in Anderson v. Griswold (2023 CO 63) that Trump’s insurrection disqualifies him under section three of the Fourteenth Amendment to stand for presidential re-election. Because the candidate is ineligible, the court ruled, it would be a ‘wrongful act’ for the Colorado Secretary of State to list him as a candidate on that state’s presidential primary ballot.”

The gubernatorial candidate told the Secretary of State that California “must stand on the right side of history,” and is “obligated to determine” if the former president is ineligible to be on the ballot for the same reasons he was deemed ineligible in Colorado.

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Former President Trump wearing a MAGA hat. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Kounalakis said Colorado’s decision could be the basis for California’s decision.

“The constitution is clear: you must be 35 years old and not be an insurrectionist,” Kounalakis wrote, though in an earlier version of the letter that hit social media, the Lt. Gov. wrote, “you must be 40 years old…”

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The lieutenant governor of California speaking at an event

Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis wants to explore the possibility of removing Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballots. (Getty)

She also said this is not a matter of political gamesmanship, but instead is a “dire matter that puts at stake the sanctity of our constitution and our democracy.”

Colorado’s disqualification was made under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and tied to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

The 4-3 ruling is stayed until Jan. 4 because of likely appeals. Three justices on the Colorado Supreme Court dissented.

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Former President Donald Trump wearing a red tie

Former President Donald Trump was removed from Colorado’s 2024 ballots by the state’s supreme court. The ruling will likely face appeals. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the court’s majority wrote. “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 to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”

In a previous ruling, Colorado District Judge Sarah B. Wallace allowed Trump to stay on the ballot but found that Trump “engaged in insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement that she would “continue to follow court guidance on this important issue.”

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Jena Griswold speaking to the press

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold holds a news conference about 2022 legislative plans in Denver, Colorado, on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. (Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post)

“The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that Donald Trump is barred from the Colorado ballot for inciting the January 6 insurrection and attempting to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election. This decision may be appealed,” Griswold wrote.

The 14th Amendment states: “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 But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

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Disqualification lawsuits relating to Trump’s appearance on the ballot are pending in 13 states, including Texas, Nevada and Wisconsin.

Bill Mears and Adam Sabes of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.

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