Vermont GOP rules bar it from promoting any candidate who is a ‘convicted felon'

The party can vote to exempt a candidate, but it so far appears to be following the rule.

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The Vermont Republican Party is prohibited from backing a candidate with a felony conviction, according to the party’s publicly posted rules.

That is now a bit of a problem, since the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was recently convicted on 34 felony counts.

“The state committee will not support or promote any candidate for elective office who … is a convicted felon,” read the rules, which govern everything from party meetings to how delegates must vote at national conventions.

On social media, the party does technically appear to be following the rule — there are no mentions of Donald Trump on the Vermont GOP’s Twitter or Facebook pages in the days since the former president's historic guilty verdict in his hush money case — but the party's social media typically talks only about local candidates and presidential candidates who visit the state.

The rule has been on the books since at least 2013, according to an archived version of the rules, but by early 2022, the party appears to have amended their rules.

According to the Internet Archive, the posted rules were changed by March 2022 to allow the state committee to exempt a candidate from the rule by majority vote.

It's unclear if such a rule will affect how Vermont's GOP delegates vote at the Republican National Convention in July.

Former U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley won all of Vermont’s delegates but suspended her campaign in March; she has since endorsed Trump. The party rules dictate that delegates to the RNC are not bound if a candidate withdraws or suspends their campaign.

The Republican National Committee and Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont Republican Party, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2022, when Trump announced his bid for the presidency, Dame said in a statement that he did not believe Trump was the right choice for the party.

"I believe that the best thing for the future of the party is for other qualified and accomplished Republicans to join the primary to give Republican voters a better choice in the 2024 election," he said.

In a statement, the Democratic National Committee suggested Vermont Republicans instead support President Joe Biden in November.

“We already knew Donald Trump was a threat to the American people and our democracy, but according to the Vermont GOP’s own rules, Donald Trump isn’t even eligible to receive their support," Deputy Communications Director Abhi Rahman said. "We look forward to the Vermont Republican Party supporting Joe Biden this November — the only candidate with a path to 270 that has not been convicted of a felony.”

President Joe Biden blasted former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against a New York judge and prosector, one day after a jury unanimously found Trump guilty on 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records. “It is reckless, it’s dangerous and it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict.”

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