Consider this: The 14th Amendment

Reed Harris

Does the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, in Section 3, disqualify Former President, and Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, from holding office ever again?  It is a topic of discussion now being deliberated by a growing number of conservative scholars and others according to an article by ABC News reporters on Aug. 25.  You can find it at  The amendment reads:

Amendment 14, Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Trump did not “engage in insurrection or rebellion”.  At least it doesn’t look that way, however, we’ll have to let the court cases play out to be sure.  And I think many are saying that this Amendment and Section does not pertain to him.  Most likely, as it pertains to those previous words, this is true.  In the long run, you will have to review all the circumstances and form your own opinion.

Yet Amendment 14, Section 3, does not stop there.  It also includes the words “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”  These particular words may be a little more unfavorable for the former President.  Aid and comfort can cover many actions within their scope.  The definition of these words would need to be resolved.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides the following definition for the verb “aid”.  “To provide with what is useful or necessary in achieving an end.”  For the verb “comfort” the dictionary says, “to give strength and hope to”.

For the next step, a person would need to look back on events and determine what was meant, or even what happened due to the actions of a particular person.  Take, for instance, the rally prior to the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.  You must decide what was meant by holding, or what happened because of this rally.  Was the rally itself an “aid” to the incursion of the capital that happened following it?

Next, we need to determine what was meant by President Trump’s words at the rally.  Were these words, reported by AP as his words, "We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore," giving “aid” or “comfort” to those that listened then headed to the Capitol?  Or were the words “They rigged it like they’ve never rigged an election before”, giving “aid” or “comfort”?  Were these words true?

It would be very cumbersome to go through the whole speech to find out what he was talking about.  What he was doing.  So, let’s continue with one thing we heard from the “Jan. 6 Committee” hearing broadcast on almost all stations in our country.  As I remember it, one or more of the witnesses mentioned that President Trump wanted to march with the crowd to the Capitol.  Thankfully, according to these witnesses, he was whisked away by the “Secret Service”.  I say this because of the words in Amendment 14, Section 3, that states, anyone that “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same”.  By marching with the crowd, would President Trump have fallen into this category?

Can we ever know what he had on his mind during this rally?  Does it even matter?  If you or I held a rally at Wall Street, and talked about how bad the banking system is in this country saying something like "We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore", then a riot followed with some of these institutions being robbed or otherwise damaged, would they say either of us gave ”aid” or “comfort” to this event?  I personally feel bars would be in our future and not the bars we go to and have a drink.

What if one of us had joined the crowd right after the rally?  Would they say we had engaged in that riot whether we participated in the robbery and destruction or not?  But, again, we would see those bars, not just be banned from holding rallies about banking, right?  In either case, I would expect my actions would be frowned upon.  I may expect to get a fair trial, but a trial none-the-less.  12 of my peers would be the judge of whether I did wrong.

This is complicated.  But life is complicated too.  We are constantly bombarded with events which beg for our decisions on what we will do.  We must arm ourselves with the truth and with the best information we can gather.  Then, when we make that decision, we must stand behind it no matter where it may lead.  It does no good to ignore it, nor does it do any good to pretend the event didn’t happen, for it has happened, has been locked in, and cannot be changed.