Top Republicans from around the country responded to the news that former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury by saying that the case was an example of political persecution.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office confirmed Thursday evening that Trump was indicted and that the indictment remains under seal.
“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement. “It is un-American. The Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct. Yet, now he is stretching the law to target a political opponent.”
“Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda,” DeSantis added.
The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head.
It is un-American.
The Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct. Yet, now he is…
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 30, 2023
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said that Bragg “has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election.”
“As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump,” McCarthy said. “The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election.
As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump.
The American people will not…
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 30, 2023
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded: “The Democrat Party’s hatred for Donald Trump knows no bounds.”
“The ‘substance’ of this political persecution is utter garbage,” Cruz added. “This is completely unprecedented and is a catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system.”
The Democrat Party’s hatred for Donald Trump knows no bounds. The “substance” of this political persecution is utter garbage.
This is completely unprecedented and is a catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 30, 2023
Former Vice President Mike Pence responded to the news of the indictment during a pre-planned interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, calling it “an outrage” and saying that it was clear to him that the prosecution was political.
Pence: Well I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage. pic.twitter.com/mDuAM75SMd
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 31, 2023
Some other notable Republican responses included:
- House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA): “The sham New York indictment of President Donald Trump is one of the clearest examples of extremist Democrats weaponizing government to attack their political opponents. Outrageous.”
- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO): “Tonight’s indictment of Donald Trump isn’t about the law. It’s about power. Raw power. It’s the Democrat Party telling the nation they will stop at nothing to control the outcome of the next presidential election. It is an assault on our democracy, pure and simple.”
- Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH): “A week ago a video circulated of a lunatic harassing a family on a New York subway. He hurled racial slurs (the family was white) and threatened them. Alvin Bragg thinks that man should walk free and Donald Trump should go to jail for a fake misdemeanor. It’s despicable.”
- Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO): “This is purely a partisan case against President Trump. Soros DA Bragg campaigned on prosecuting President Trump, while violent crime in NYC rages on & violent criminals walk free. This is a political prosecution in search of a crime & sets a dangerous precedent going forward.”
- Nikki Haley: “From everything I have seen from this New York district attorney is that this would be something he’d be doing for political points. I think what we know is, when you get into political prosecutions like this, it’s more about revenge than it is about justice.”
News of the indictment comes as The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Thursday that Bragg’s office has started examining an alleged $150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The report said that prosecutors could use the alleged hush money payment to McDougal to bring additional potential charges against Trump. Prosecutors could also use the McDougal evidence to try to establish an alleged pattern of conduct by the former president since alleged participants have claimed that Trump played a key role in the deals, the report said.
David Pecker, the former CEO of American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, gave testimony this month that tied Trump directly to the payment to McDougal “and to an alleged broader scheme to suppress negative stories about Mr. Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign,” the report said.
Lawyers for the former president have claimed that he was not aware of the payment and he has denied having an affair with McDougal.
Trump faces additional legal jeopardy in three other criminal investigations into him, including a federal investigation into his efforts to stay in power after the 2020 election, an investigation in Georgia into his efforts to stay in power after the 2020 election, and another federal investigation into his handling of U.S. government records after leaving office.