Gov. Josh Shapiro at the PA Farm Show Jan. 10 2024. (Photo by Commonwealth Media Services)
HARRISBURG — Speaking to a gaggle of reporters at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Wednesday, Gov. Josh Shapiro said that he and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt have no authority to remove Donald Trump’s name from the ballot and that any decision to do so must come from a court. But Shapiro added that he believes the presidential election will be between Trump and President Joe Biden and should be decided by voters.
“My personal view on this is this election should be decided at the ballot box, not in the courts,” Shapiro said. “Certainly any individual candidate should be held to account in a court of law if they commit any wrongdoing, or if they’ve been alleged to commit any wrongdoing.”
“That’s separate and apart from whose names should appear on the ballot,” Shapiro said.
He added that he fully expects the 2024 election to be a race between Trump and Biden “and the voters should decide on the question of who the next president is, not the courts,” he added.
On Dec. 19, Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled that Trump is not eligible to be on that state’s ballot under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment states that those who “engaged in insurrection” after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution should not be allowed to hold elected office. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will take up Trump’s appeal in that case.
On Dec. 28, Maine’s Secretary of State also disqualified Trump from the ballot in that state.
“I’ve been clear, as has Secretary. [Al] Schmidt, we don’t have any legal authority to remove anyone from the ballot,” said Shapiro, who is also the state’s former Attorney General. “Here in Pennsylvania, if one is going to be removed from the ballot, it’s going to be done by the court.”
Shapiro is the latest statewide official to address the effort by some states to remove Trump from the ballot.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) told the Capital-Star in an interview on Jan. 6 that he’s not sure how the U.S. Supreme Court will decide on the Colorado case to remove Trump from the ballot. But, when asked if election deniers should be removed from office or voted out, he said “I hope they would not be voted in, in the first place, but obviously if they’re up for reelection, I hope people hold them accountable.”
And U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) told the Daily Beast that the effort by some states to remove Trump from the ballot was “incredibly unhelpful” and “a gift to Trump” claiming it energizes his base.
A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday shows Biden and Trump are neck-and-neck in a potential rematch for the White House.
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