Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold expressed deep concern over a recent ruling allowing Donald Trump to remain on the Republican primary ballot in Colorado for the 2024 presidential election. The ruling by Colorado Judge Sarah Wallace, while permitting Trump’s inclusion on the ballot, came with a finding that the former president had engaged in incitement during the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
In an interview on MSNBC with Ali Velshi, Griswold criticized the decision as an “incredibly narrow reading” of the law, indicating her surprise and dismay at the implications of the ruling. The essence of her concern lies in the apparent contradiction that individuals engaging in insurrection are barred from lower offices but not from seeking the presidency.
Griswold stressed the troubling nature of a scenario where the presidency serves as a “get out of jail free” card for those involved in acts of insurrection. She underlined the expectation that the president, as the highest officeholder tasked with safeguarding the Constitution, should not be exempt from accountability for actions that undermine the democratic process.
During the MSNBC interview, Velshi raised the question of whether the intent behind the Insurrection Act was to hold lower-level government officials to a higher standard of integrity than the president. Griswold echoed the sentiment that the ruling poses significant concerns for the state of democracy, emphasizing the need for the American people to understand that the president, above all, has a duty to protect the Constitution.
The ruling in Colorado has ignited discussions about the potential consequences of allowing individuals involved in insurrection to seek the presidency. Griswold’s remarks underscore the broader implications of the decision and the importance of addressing accountability and integrity at all levels of government, particularly in the context of the highest office in the land.
“THE IDEA THAT ANY OFFICIAL WHO WOULD ENGAGE IN INSURRECTION WOULD BE BARRED FROM TAKING OFFICE EXCEPT THE PRESIDENCY IS INCREDIBLY SURPRISING,” SAID GRISWOLD. “THAT BASICALLY MEANS THAT THE PRESIDENCY IS A ‘GET OUT OF JAIL FREE’ CARD FOR INSURRECTION.”
“AS SOMEONE WHO CARES DEEPLY ABOUT THE STATE OF OUR DEMOCRACY, I FIND THAT VERY TROUBLING,” SHE SAID.
VELSHI: COULD THE WRITERS OF THE INSURRECTION ACT REALLY HAVE INTENDED TO HOLD LOWER LEVEL GOVERNMENT OFFICERS TO A HIGHER LEVEL OF INTEGRITY THAN THE PERSON WHO HOLDS THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE LAND? AND MORE IMMEDIATELY, CAN THIS POSSIBLY REALLY BE THE END OF THE STORY IN COLORADO?
WELL, I’M JOINED NOW BY A PERSON WHO’S VERY WELL POSITIONED TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION. JOINING ME NOW IS JANET GRISWOLD, THE COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE, WITH WHOM WE DISCUSSED THIS ISSUE BACK IN AUGUST. SECRETARY, GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANK YOU ALWAYS FOR MAKING THE TIME TO BE WITH US. YOU SAID TO ME THEN, WHICH LITERALLY ALMOST EVERY SECRETARY OF STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO WHOM NBC HAS SPOKEN SAID, THAT YOU’RE LIKELY NOT GOING TO BE THE LAST VOICE ON THIS THING. YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU MAY THINK YOU NEED TO DO, BUT THIS IS DEFINITELY GOING TO THE COURTS.
SO THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED IN COLORADO, IT WENT TO THE COURTS, AND LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED BY WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY. ARE YOU?
GRISWOLD: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THANKS FOR HAVING ME ON, ALI. ALWAYS GREAT TO BE ON YOUR SHOW. AND YES, THIS IS A SURPRISING RULING. I THINK YOU ARE REALLY HITTING IT ON THE HEAD.
THE IDEA THAT ANY OFFICIAL WHO WOULD ENGAGE IN INSURRECTION WOULD BE BARRED FROM TAKING OFFICE EXCEPT THE PRESIDENCY IS INCREDIBLY SURPRISING. THAT BASICALLY MEANS THAT THE PRESIDENCY IS A ‘GET OUT OF JAIL FREE’ CARD FOR INSURRECTION.
AS SOMEONE WHO CARES DEEPLY ABOUT THE STATE OF OUR DEMOCRACY, I FIND THAT VERY TROUBLING. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT, THE PERSON, IF ANYBODY, THE PERSON MOST IN CHARGE OF PROTECTING THE CONSTITUTION, ACTUALLY HAS A DUTY TO DO SO.
SO, I’M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU, I FIND IT VERY TROUBLING THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES COULD ENGAGE IN INSURRECTION AND UNLIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, COULD THEN BE PRESIDENT AGAIN.