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Rep. Cicilline introduces bill to bar Trump from holding federal office

“You don’t get to lead a government you tried to destroy,” the Rhode Island Democrat said

PROVIDENCE — US Representative David N. Cicilline on Thursday introduced legislation that would bar former Republican President Donald J. Trump from holding federal office, saying, “You don’t get to lead a government you tried to destroy.”

Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat who was an impeachment manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial, argued that Trump should be prohibited from becoming president again under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states: No person shall … hold any office, civil or military, under the United States … who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States … 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.”


Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Trump “very clearly engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021, with the intention of overturning the lawful and fair results of the 2020 election.”

He noted that in February 2021, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”

Cicilline said that under the 14th Amendment, Trump is disqualified from ever holding federal office again and under Section 5, Congress has the power to pass legislation to enact that ban.

The legislation includes testimony and evidence aimed at showing that Trump:

  • Engaged in insurrection when he helped to plan and encouraged the insurgence on January 6
  • Attempted to intimidate state and federal officials when they did not support his false claims and unlawful plans
  • Tried to manipulate Vice President Mike Pence into unlawfully refusing to certify the election results
  • Supported the violent insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6
  • Refused for hours to denounce or act against the mob, putting thousands of lives in danger.

Cicilline announced that 40 legislators are cosponsoring the bill. The list does not include outgoing Representative James R. Langevin, a fellow Rhode Island Democrat.

But the bill faces an uphill battle in the waning days of this Congress, as Republicans are about to retake the majority in the House following the Nov. 8 elections.


Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.