The exclusion of former President Donald Trump from the Maine primary ballot has triggered criticism from Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie. In an interview with CNN, Christie expressed his opposition to the decision, suggesting that it could inadvertently turn Trump into a “martyr.”
Christie remarked, “It makes him a martyr. You know, he’s very good at playing ‘Poor me, poor me.’ He’s always complaining. The poor billionaire from New York who’s spending everybody else’s money to pay his legal fees.”
The controversy arose after Shenna Bellows, Maine Secretary of State, asserted that Trump had propagated a “false narrative of election fraud” to rally his followers and disrupt the certification of the 2020 election. She emphasized that Trump’s occasional calls for peaceful protests did not absolve him of his actions, citing a pattern of conduct leading up to his speech on the Ellipse.
The decision in Maine aligns with a similar move by the Colorado Supreme Court the previous week. Trump’s campaign has vigorously contested these decisions, accusing Bellows of electoral interference and branding her a “hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat.”
The Colorado GOP has taken the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the state’s decision to exclude Trump from the ballot. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has announced that Trump will remain on the ballot unless the Supreme Court either rejects the case or upholds the state’s decision.
Mary Trump, Donald Trump’s niece, welcomed the ruling in Maine, emphasizing that “no one should give Donald a free pass” and urging other states to follow suit.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the Chair of the House Oversight Committee, voiced concerns that more states might follow Maine’s example, raising the specter of election interference in such decisions. The legal battles and controversies surrounding Trump’s eligibility for the 2024 presidential primary ballots underscore the ongoing divisions and disputes within the Republican Party over the former president’s role and influence.