Keeping Trump off ballot could 'rip the country apart,' former Obama adviser David Axelrod says

Axelrod said Trump's opponents have "run this experiment" before and, "He's only gained since he started getting indicted."

Published: January 1, 2024 9:19am

Updated: January 1, 2024 10:00am

Keeping former President Donald Trump off 2024 GOP presidential primary ballots "would rip the country apart" and the only way to beat him is in the election, former top Obama adviser David Axelrod said. 

"I have very, very strong reservations about all of this," Axelrod said Friday on CNN.

"I do think it would rip the country apart if he were actually prevented from running because tens of millions of people want to vote for him. I think if you are going to beat Donald Trump, you are going to have to do it at the polls," he also said. 

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows last week removed Trump from the state's primary ballot citing the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause, and Maine GOP Chairman Joel Stetkis said he would appeal the decision.

Additionally, the Colorado Supreme Court found Trump ineligible to run in the primary for the same reason last month, but the state Republican Party appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said last week that Trump will appear on the ballot unless the high court takes up the case.

Trump critics and others he incited an insurrection by suggesting supports go the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the certification on the 2020 presidential race in which he lost reelection. 

Axelrod, the chief strategist for Democrat Barack Obama's two winning presidential campaigns, also predicted Friday that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Trump's case "fairly quickly" and "will leave him" on the ballot.

He also said that the decisions to remove Trump from the ballot have been "strengthening him in the Republican primary." 

Axelrod also said Trump's opponents have "run this experiment" before after indicting the former president, the frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, in connection to multiple state and federal criminal cases

"He's only gained since he started getting indicted, you know, what you thought might be kryptonite for him has been battery packs. This is a big one for him," Axelrod said, referring to how green kryptonite could kill Superman in the classic comic book series.

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