The legal scholar, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday, cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that a person is barred from holding office in the U.S. federal government if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
“You are disqualified, period,” said Tribe, likening the “disqualification” to those on presidential term limits, age restrictions for the office, and whether someone is a natural-born citizen.
“So all of the charges against the president which at the moment don’t happen to include insurrection are really beside the point,” he added.
Conservative law professors have recently referred to Section 3 in arguments on Trump’s eligibility for the Oval Office following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has similarly suggested that the former president is disqualified.
Tribe later said that secretaries of state may have to set up a way to determine if Trump gave “aid or comfort” to the Constitution’s enemies. But he then pointed to the former president considering “full pardons” for defendants in cases related to Jan. 6.
“When he said he was going to pardon the ones who breached the Capitol and who had Confederate flags in there and caused mayhem and even death, that sure sounds like giving aid or comfort to the enemies of the Constitution,” Tribe said.
Blitzer asked Tribe, who recently co-wrote an op-ed in The Atlantic on Trump’s eligibility, if the call is “subjective.”
“Are you concerned this could potentially be abused down the road?” Blitzer said.
“It’s certainly problematic, but that’s why the framers of the 14th Amendment put in a safeguard,” replied Tribe. “They said, if it’s abused, all you need is two-thirds of each house [of Congress] in order to remove a disability, a disqualification.”