Ted Cruz backs defense of Trump’s eligibility in 2024 election

WASHINGTON — Now that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is backing President Donald Trump for reelection, the first step is making sure he stays on the ballot.

Cruz and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise introduced an amicus brief Thursday defending Trump’s eligibility to run for president in a closely watched U.S. Supreme Court case. Over 170 other Republican members and senators signed on to the brief.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a Colorado Supreme Court decision that ruled Trump ineligible due to his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Colorado decision relied on the 14th Amendment, which makes U.S. officials ineligible for office if they assist in an insurrection.

But the amicus brief asserts it is up to Congress to decide who is disqualified under the 14th Amendment. The brief argues that upholding the Colorado decision would open the flood gates for courts to wantonly disqualify anyone from office for political reasons.

“Section 3 enforcement mechanisms are left to Congress, not to a patchwork of state officials and courts,” the brief said.

“The radical left consistently does what they claim their opponents are doing. While President Biden and his allies claim they are defending democracy, their supporters are working to undermine democracy by banning Biden’s likely general election opponent from appearing on the ballot,” Cruz said in a statement. “The American people see through this, and I’m confident the Supreme Court will as well.”

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and 15 Texas Republicans in the House also signed onto the brief.

U.S. Reps. Nathaniel Moran, Keith Self, Michael McCaul, Monica De La Cruz, Pete Sessions, Chip Roy, Tony Gonzales, Michael Cloud and Wesley Hunt were the only Texas Republicans who did not appear as signatories. Self’s and Hunt’s offices said that they had fully supported the brief and were meant to be signatories.

McCaul, Roy and Gonzales were among the four currently serving Texas House Republicans who voted to certify the 2020 presidential election. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who also voted to certify the elections, signed onto the brief.

Cruz endorsed Trump for president Tuesday following Trump’s knockout win in the Iowa Caucus. Cruz had held off on endorsing for months. He and Trump had had a bitter rivalry during the 2016 primaries, with Trump issuing a bevy of personal insults against Cruz. But the senator later supported Trump, saying he was the best person to pass a conservative agenda regardless of past personal clashes.

Even before his endorsement, Cruz had long defended Trump’s eligibility to run. Trump is under indictment in four criminal investigations, including over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. But he has yet to be convicted.

Prior to his formal endorsement, Cruz said in a Newsmax interview that he was good friends with both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was also running for the nomination. DeSantis and Cruz operated in similar orbits with alumni of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign working to elect DeSantis.

Cruz shut down speculation about his own presidential run early in the cycle, saying he was focused on his competitive reelection bid against U.S. Rep. Colin Allred.

Cornyn has so far declined to endorse anyone in the primary, though he expressed doubt in the past that Trump can attract enough votes in the general election. Still, he asserted that it should be a decision for voters.