February 6, 2024

By Mychael Schnell


Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) unveiled a resolution Tuesday that declares former President Trump “did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.”

The resolution — which spans one page and has more than 60 GOP co-sponsors — comes as groups across the country try to disqualify Trump from appearing on their 2024 presidential election ballots on claims that he engaged in an insurrection during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The efforts point to language in the 14th Amendment that bars from office those that have engaged in an insurrection.

In December, the Colorado Supreme Court knocked Trump off the state’s Republican Party ballot, a decision that will come before the Supreme Court on Thursday. Gaetz referenced it Tuesday during a press conference surrounded by more than 10 co-sponsors.

“We are here today to authoritatively express that President Trump did not commit an insurrection, and we believe Congress has a unique role in making that declaration,” Gaetz said. “It’s not the job of the states and especially not the job of some bureaucrats in Colorado to make this assessment and interfere with the right of voters to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice.”

“As President Donald Trump continues to dominate in the polls, extreme Democrats will stop at nothing in attempt to prevent President Donald Trump from returning to the White House,” Stefanik said.

The resolution, which is nonbinding, would declare that it is “the sense of the House of Representatives” that Trump “did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or give aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

In addition to Colorado, Trump has been disqualified from the ballot in Maine. That decision, however, has been suspended pending the high court’s decision.

Trump’s candidacy has been challenged in at least 35 states, according to The New York Times.

Gaetz said he thinks approving the resolution would be “incredibly helpful legally.”

“If we’re the purported victim, in Congress, and we’re saying this was not an insurrection, I think that will hold a great deal of weight,” he added.

Gaetz said he has not received any assurances from Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) or GOP leadership that they will bring the resolution to the floor for a vote, but he alluded to the Louisiana Republican’s closeness to Trump.

“I sat next to him for seven years on the Judiciary Committee, though, so I’m pretty sure as to where he stands,” Gaetz said.

The Florida Republican also noted that he has spoken with Trump about the effort, who was “thrilled that so many members had signed on.”

It’s not entirely clear that the resolution would pass in the GOP-controlled House given their narrow majority, though the decision could be tough for some House Republicans as Trump seeks to win his party’s nomination again for 2024.

Just two of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump still serve in the House: Reps. Dan Newhouse (Wash.) and David Valadao (Calif.). The eight others either lost in their reelection bids or retired from the chamber.