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Witness in trial to take Trump off state ballot: No other US politician endorsed violence like him

The sociology professor expert witness also said that referring to 1776 is “a violent call for revolution” among extremists.

Published: October 31, 2023 12:15pm

Updated: October 31, 2023 3:43pm

The second day of the Colorado trial to determine whether former President Donald Trump will be taken off the state 2024 GOP primary ballot began Tuesday morning with the plaintiffs’ expert witness on far-right extremism, who said that hadn’t seen another American political figure endorse violence the way Trump has done.

On Monday, in the Denver courtroom, the plaintiffs challenging Trump’s eligibility to be a GOP candidate in the state began. The plaintiffs' argument in the trial is that Trump is ineligible to seek reelection because of the 14th Amendment's "insurrection" clause.

The trial is expected to last a week, with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, on behalf of six voters, suing the Colorado secretary of state and Trump.

The Colorado GOP has also intervened in the case.

The trial in Colorado in which Trump faces being removed from the state's 2024 presidential ballot on the argument he instigated the Jan. 6 "insurrection" began Monday with petitioner lawyers saying Trump told the crowd 20 times to "fight" before they went to the Capitol Hill to riot. 

Also on Tuesday, plaintiff lawyer Eric Olson questioned his expert witness Dr. Peter Simi, a sociology professor at Chapman University. Simi testified that he has studied far-right extremism for more than 20 years.

In Simi’s testimony regarding far-right extremism, he said that referring to 1776 is “a violent call for revolution” among extremists.

Simi also testified that Trump has called for violence and that he hadn’t seen another American political figure endorse violence the way Trump has done.

Additionally, Simi said that far-right extremism also includes Western chauvinism, where western culture is viewed as superior to other cultures. Simi referenced Trump's 2015 campaign launch speech, where he claimed that Mexico was "not sending their best" people, as an example of Western chauvinism.

An attorney for Trump, Scott Gessler, questioned Simi in cross-examination, playing him clips of Democrats who said "fight" and "fight like hell," asking if these were calls of violence for the far-right. Simi said that more context would be needed for him to make a determination, including the speakers' history and relationship with the far-right.

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