Donald Trump indicted: Former president’s GOP critics rebuke grand jury decision

GOP 2016 Debate
Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush responds to Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump during the CBS News Republican presidential debate at the Peace Center, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) John Bazemore/AP

Donald Trump indicted: Former president’s GOP critics rebuke grand jury decision

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Former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented indictment in the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into a hush-money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels has prompted some of his most ardent GOP detractors to his defense.

Although the charges against him remain under seal, many of Trump’s critics within the Republican Party rebuked the grand jury’s decision to indict him. Here are some of the reactions from the former president’s most ardent critics.


Jeb Bush

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) was Trump’s chief foe in the 2016 primary and weathered brutal broadsides against his family at the time. From the sidelines, Bush has remained largely critical of Trump, and the former president has occasionally likened some of his potential 2024 foes to Bush.

In light of the news of Trump’s indictment, however, Bush called the case “very political,” saying it was not a “matter of justice.”

“Bragg’s predecessor didn’t take up the case. The Justice Department didn’t take up the case. Bragg first said he would not take up the case. This is very political, not a matter of justice. In this case, let the jury be the voters,” the ex-governor tweeted.

William Barr

Former Attorney General William Barr had a falling out with Trump during the twilight days of the Trump administration. Trump and Barr were at odds over the 2020 election, which Barr refused to say was “stolen” from Trump. In the time since, Barr has criticized his onetime boss on multiple occasions, but he called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s decision the “epitome of the abuse” of prosecutorial power.

“Obviously, we don’t have the indictment, so there’s a little bit of speculation involved. But based on the news reports, if they’re accurate, this is an abomination,” the former attorney general said.

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He also said that “it’s the epitome of the abuse of prosecutorial power to bring a case that would not be brought against anyone else. They are going after the man, not a crime. And the legal theory, frankly, is pathetically weak.”

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence called the indictment of Trump on a campaign finance issue an “outrage.”

Pence, who is mulling a 2024 run, has become critical of his onetime running mate since departing the White House. Despite their differences, Pence defended Trump and lamented how the indictment had divided the country.

Ron DeSantis

Once a key ally of Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has emerged as Trump’s top potential 2024 rival. As the 2024 election draws closer, the two have been pitted against each other frequently, with Trump calling DeSantis a few different nicknames. Nevertheless, DeSantis backed his main 2024 rival, saying that Florida would not assist with an extradition request. Trump is a resident of Florida.

On Thursday, DeSantis tweeted: “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 stretching the law to target a political opponent.”

Bragg clinched an indictment of over 30 counts against Trump last week from a grand jury, according to multiple reports. The indictment was confirmed by both Bragg’s office and Trump’s lawyer, though the exact charges remain under seal until Trump’s arraignment. Trump is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.

Numerous reports of the case against Trump indicated that the case revolves around a $130,000 hush-money case made to Daniels during the 2016 election cycle. Bragg is reportedly seeking pair a misdemeanor for falsification of business records connected to the payment with a campaign finance violation.

Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance, initiated the investigation, with it eventually creating broader business fraud questions, according to a prosecutor who stepped down from the Manhattan office last year.

Multiple GOP Trump critics have opted not to defend him, with many choosing to remain quiet, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and former Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD).


One critic, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), argued that Trump should drop out of 2024 running due to indictment. Hutchinson declared his bid for the 2024 election on Sunday.

“I’ve always said that people don’t have to step aside from public office if they’re under investigation, but if it reaches the point of criminal charges that have to be answered, the office is always more important than a person. And so, there’s some consistency there. We don’t need that distraction,” he said.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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