California Democrat secretary of state to allow Trump on GOP presidential primary ballot: 'I must be better'
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber said that she has decided to follow the rule of law and allow former President Donald Trump on the state's primary ballot.
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber will include former President Trump on her state's primary ballot despite pressure to remove the Republican presidential frontrunner.
Weber argued that while she finds the former president's actions "abhorrent and disturbing and an attack on democracy," she feels obligated to follow the rule of law and allow Trump on her state's primary ballot.
"But at the same time, if I believe in this democracy that is there, I have to basically continue to abide by the rule of law, and for me not to do that, then I am no better than Trump," Weber told The Los Angeles Times on Friday.
"And I must be better than Trump," the Secretary of State said.
Weber also admitted that her office worked for months with other state and local officials to figure out if there were legal grounds to remove Trump from the state’s primary ballot.
Following the deliberation, Weber said that, in the interview with the Los Angeles Times, it was determined that the state constitution does not give her authority to remove Trump from the ballot.
Her decision to "follow the rule of law" came after Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis sent her a letter on Dec. 20 imploring her to "explore every legal option to remove former President Donald Trump from California’s 2024 presidential primary ballot."
In a follow-up letter to Kounalakis, Weber said she must place the "sanctity" of democratic elections above "partisan politics."
"As California's chief elections officer, I am the steward of free and fair elections and the democratic process," Weber wrote. "I must place the sanctity of these elections above partisan politics."
Weber hit back at Kounalakis, saying that her team had used "every means possible" to investigate the legality of removing Trump from the state's primary ballot.
"I’m not sure why the lieutenant governor says, ‘Use every means possible,’ because we have been doing that," Weber said. "I haven’t shared that information with her, because she hasn’t asked me."
Gov. Gavin Newsom agreed with Weber's sentiments, saying last week that, "we defeat candidates at the polls."
"There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy," Newsom said in a statement. "But in California, we defeat candidates at the polls."
"Everything else is a political distraction," Newsom said.
On Tuesday, Trump is expected to appeal the ballot decisions issued in recent days in Colorado and Maine, Fox News has confirmed.
The move follows Maine Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows' decision to remove Trump from the state's presidential primary ballot, citing the insurrection clause of the Constitution.
A divided Colorado Supreme Court ruled last week that Trump is ineligible to run for the presidency under the Constitution's insurrection clause, arguing that his actions fueled the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by right-wing protesters aiming to disrupt congressional certification of President Biden's 2020 election victory.
Colorado's Republican Party appealed the ruling Tuesday, thus pausing the court's decision and putting Trump back on the ballot.
The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to make the final decision.
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