Home » Alarm bells ring as Trump refuses to sign anti-coup pledge in Illinois

Alarm bells ring as Trump refuses to sign anti-coup pledge in Illinois

When Donald Trump and his campaign registered for the Illinois state primary this year, they refused to sign a voluntary loyalty oath stating that Trump wouldn’t advocate for overthrowing the government.

The Biden campaign pounced on the news, which was broken by WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday, the anniversary of Jan. 6.

“For the entirety of our nation’s history, presidents have put their hand on the Bible and sworn to protect and uphold the constitution of the United States – and Donald Trump can’t bring himself to sign a piece of paper saying he won’t attempt a coup to overthrow our government,” said Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler. “We know he’s deadly serious because three years ago today he tried and failed to do exactly that.”

The news played right into President Joe Biden’s speech last Friday emphasizing the existential threat Trump poses to American democracy.

Trump reportedly signed the Illinois pledge in 2016 and 2020. But instead of opting to rectify the situation by agreeing to sign it following the news, the Trump campaign chose to focus on the oath of office Trump would take after a potential win in November.

“President Trump will once again take the oath of office on January 20th, 2025, and will swear ‘to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,’” said Trump spokesman Steven Cheung.

It’s worth noting, however, that oath of office didn’t stop Trump from inciting the riot at the Capitol, nor did it compel him to take swift action to rein in the violence once it had begun. Not only did he wait more than three hours to ask the insurrectionists to leave the Capitol, Trump actually shrugged off the fact that his vice president had to be evacuated, responding, “So what?” according to newly released information.


Trump’s refusal to sign the anti-insurrection pledge underscores the fact that he continues to foreshadow an abrupt break from democracy as we know it if he prevails in November. Trump recently suggested on Fox News that he would be a dictator “on Day One” of a second Trump term.

We should take him both seriously and literally. Several months before the Jan. 6 coup attempt he hosted at the Capitol, Trump similarly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost the 2020 election.

“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump responded in September 2020 after being asked whether he’d commit to a peaceful transition.

Now, as then, Trump is telling Americans exactly what he plans to do. The only difference this time is that Trump will never look back if he seizes power. He will not worry about protocols or tradition or that outdated scrap of paper known as the U.S. Constitution. Trump and his allies will get straight to work on dismantling the foundations of the republic so they can reshape it in Trump’s image.  

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January 2024