On 8 December 2015, the hashtag #TrumpIsDisqualifiedParty started trending on Twitter, referencing the notion that GOP candidate Donald Trump had been “disqualified” from running for President due to comments he made suggesting that Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S.:
While many people used the hashtag to celebrate Trump’s supposed disqualification from the Presidential race, those tweets did not signal an official proclamation that Trump had been disqualified from running for President over having violated some necessary condition. Rather, the tweets were inspired by a comment made by White House press secretary Josh Earnest on 8 December 2015:
Now, I know that each of the Republican candidates has already taken an oath pledging to support Donald Trump for president of the United States if he wins the nomination. But the fact is, the first thing a president does when he or she takes the oath of office is to swear an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. And the fact is, what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president.
While Earnest did say that Trump’s comment “disqualifies him” from serving as president, this does not reflect any legal statutes which could prevent Trump from continuing his campaign. Instead, Earnest’s comment could be more accurately interpreted as meaning that Donald Trump is not “morally fit” to serve as president.
Earnest’s comment came a day after Trump proposed that all Muslims should be temporarily banned from entering the United States, a position the Republican candidate defended during an appearance on CNN:
While several politicians, including Republicans, Democrats, and international leaders, have condemned Trump for his suggestion that Muslims be banned from entering the United States (while others defended the proposal), nothing about his pronouncements literally disqualifies him from running for president.
It should also be noted that Earnest’s “disqualifying comment” was largely aimed at Republican leaders in an attempt to show how Trump was hurting their party. While Trump hasn’t specifically replied to Earnest’s comment, he has hinted at the possibility of running as a third-party candidate: