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With less than a month to go before voting begins, Donald Trump ‘s Republican rivals are once again rallying to his defense, this time after Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled to remove him from the state’s presidential primary ballot under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause.

Just as they had following Trump’s successive indictments as he racked up 91 criminal charges, the GOP front-runner’s opponents cast the landmark decision — the first time in history the 14th Amendment has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate and one the former president has vowed to appeal — as inappropriate, a “stunt” and an “attack on democracy.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis charged the court’s ruling was a plot to ensure Trump wins the nomination because Democrats view him as the weakest Republican candidate.

“Look, it’s unfair. They’re abusing power, 100%,” he told an audience in Urbandale, Iowa, on Wednesday morning. “But the question is: Is that going to work? And I think they have a playbook that unfortunately will work and it’ll give Biden or the Democrat or whoever, the ability to skate through this thing. That’s their plan.”

The court’s ruling once again highlighted a defining dynamic of the GOP primary: While the trail of lawsuits and criminal charges following Trump had been expected to seriously damage his candidacy, they have instead had the opposite effect among Republicans. Primary voters — including many who had been open to backing rival candidates — have rallied around the former president, who has cast himself as the victim of a politically motivated effort by Democratic President Joe Biden and his administration to damage his chief political rival.

“I think that it confirms Americans’ deepest suspicions that many of our institutions can be weaponized against them. So it serves as a proof point for the former president,” said Republican strategist Devin O’Malley, who served as communications chief to former Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign.

O’Malley noted all of the justices on the Colorado court were appointed by Democratic governors. “On its face this is just so plainly partisan that it only helps him,” he said.

Indeed, even former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a fierce Trump critic who has blasted the other candidates for being overly deferential to the former president, slammed the ruling as ill-advised.

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