As a Manhattan grand jury weighs charges related to a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star, Trump could make history as the first former president to be criminally charged. Schmitt, one of five senators to have already pledged support for Trump’s reelection, downplayed any looming indictment as a political attack with little merit.
“This is a political prosecution in search of a crime that won’t affect my support of President Trump,” Schmitt told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday in an interview from his temporary office in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. “I think this is a very, very dangerous road to go down.”
Schmitt, who was endorsed by Trump in his Senate race, defended the former president while condemning Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the investigation. Like other prominent Republicans, Schmitt sought to discredit Bragg by connecting him to Democratic donor and businessman George Soros. Bragg did receive financial support from Soros during his campaign in 2021.
“The idea that you would have a Soros-funded prosecutor that campaigned on this, you know, seeking to criminally charge President Trump, is dangerous,” Schmitt said.
The latest drama surrounding Trump is once again threatening to divide the Republican Party and overshadow their messaging plans. Some Republicans have expressed frustration privately that the former president continues to distract from their legislative agenda and that it’s time to move on. Schmitt, however, does not share that opinion.
“People can make their own decisions. But, you know, I’ve made my position very clear,” Schmitt said.
Some Republicans have avoided weighing in ahead of a potential indictment. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, sidestepped a question Tuesday on whether he’d feel comfortable with Trump as the GOP nominee if he were to be charged criminally.
“That’s a hypothetical question that’s a long ways off. We’ve got a number of candidates who are looking at and are already in the race,” Thune said during a press conference on Wednesday. “I don’t think that’s in any Republican’s best interest to speculate about what might happen in a Republican primary.”