President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media as he arrives at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)BY AAMER MADHANI AND CHRIS MEGERIAN
MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Joe Biden said it’s “self-evident” that Donald Trump is an insurrectionist for trying to overturn his 2020 election loss but stopped short of commenting on a Colorado legal case that would bar him from the state’s ballot.
The Democratic president made the comments about his likely Republican opponent in next year’s election shortly after landing in Milwaukee for an event focused on the economy.
“Whether the 14th Amendment applies or not, we’ll let the court make that decision,” Biden told reporters on the tarmac after stepping off Air Force One. “But he certainly supported an insurrection. There’s no question about it. None. Zero. And he seems to be doubling down on it.”
Biden also criticized Trump for his recent comments that migrants were “poisoning the blood” of the country.
“I don’t believe, as the former president said again yesterday, that immigrants are polluting our blood,” Biden said in a speech at the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce. “The economy and our nation are stronger when we tap into the full range of talents in this nation.”
Biden’s trip to Wisconsin came the day after the Colorado Supreme Court issued a decision declaring that Trump is ineligible to serve as president under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. It’s the first time in the country’s history that the provision has been used to keep a candidate off the ballot.
Republicans have denounced the court’s decision, and Trump’s lawyers said they plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump has refused to back down from his lies that voter fraud allowed Biden to win in 2020, and he’s pledged to pardon supporters who participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Biden has repeatedly condemned Trump and described him as a threat to American democracy. However, he’s been more circumspect when addressing his predecessor’s legal challenges, including several criminal cases against him, and this one is no different.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment when asked by reporters aboard Air Force One.
“The president is not involved; we’re not involved in this,” she said. “This is a legal process and we’re not involved in this.”
Biden’s campaign was similarly circumspect in a call with reporters on Tuesday.
“What I will say is that the president looks forward to defeating Donald Trump or whoever else emerges from the Republican primary on the ballot box in November 2024,” said Brooke Goren, the campaign’s deputy communications director.
Megerian reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Colleen Long also contributed.