Former top Obama adviser David Axelrod warned Friday that a court decision removing former President Donald Trump from the primary ballot “would rip the country apart.”
“I have very, very strong reservations about all of this,” Axelrod said on CNN on Friday. “I do think it would rip the country apart if he were actually prevented from running because tens of millions of people want to vote for him.”
Axelrod said that the Democrats’ best bet on beating Trump is in the polls.
“I think if you’re going to beat Donald Trump, you’re going to probably have to do it at the polls,” he continued.
The former political advisor argued that Maine’s decision to remove the Republican frontrunner from the state’s primary ballot plays into Trump’s narrative that the Democratic Party is only “coming after him” because of his presidential bid.
“A lot of the motivation for [Trump’s] candidacy was as a legal defense strategy,” Axelrod said. “He wanted to set up a construct … which says that they’re coming after him because he’s running for president, and they’re trying to prevent him from being president.”
Axelrod said that the effort by the left to remove Trump has backfired, and he has only “gained” popularity since his many indictments.
“We’ve run this experiment, he’s only gained since he started getting indicted,” he said.
“What you thought might be kryptonite for him has turned out to be battery packs, and this is a big one for him,” Axelrod said.
A ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this month booted Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Colorado’s secretary of state then announced she would keep Trump on the ballot pending the state GOP’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Colorado is a Democratic-leaning state that is not expected to be competitive for Republicans in November.
On Thursday, Dec. 28, Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows disqualified former President Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot.
Bellows also cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which bans from office those who “engaged in insurrection.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision on Trump’s eligibility.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.