- 2024 Republican presidential candidates reacted Tuesday to the third indictment of former President Donald Trump relating to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Jan. 6.
- Some GOP primary hopefuls condemned the indictment for being another example of “politicized prosecution,” while others slammed Trump for his alleged involvement in Jan. 6 and alleged attempts to overthrow the 2020 election.
- “Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States,” former Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement.
Several 2024 Republican presidential candidates reacted Tuesday to the third indictment brought against former President Donald Trump in connection with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his alleged involvement in Jan. 6 and attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump’s indictment includes charges of “Conspiracy to defraud the United States,” “Conspiracy to corruptly obstruct and impede the January 6 proceedings” and “A conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.” Some GOP primary hopefuls slammed the indictment for being an example of “weaponization” and “politicized prosecution,” while others criticized Trump for Jan. 6 and the 2020 election. (RELATED: Donald Trump Indicted For Third Time)
“I remain concerned about the weaponization of Biden’s DOJ and its immense power used against political opponents,” South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “What we see today are two different tracks of justice. One for political opponents and another for the son of the current president. We’re watching Biden’s DOJ continue to hunt Republicans, while protecting Democrats.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also criticized the weaponization of the Biden administration, and pledged to reform the system if president.
“As President, I will end the weaponization of government, replace the FBI Director, and ensure a single standard of justice for all Americans,” Florida Gov. DeSantis wrote in a tweet. “While I’ve seen reports, I have not read the indictment. I do, though, believe we need to enact reforms so that Americans have the right to remove cases from Washington, DC to their home districts. Washington, DC is a “swamp” and it is unfair to have to stand trial before a jury that is reflective of the swamp mentality. One of the reasons our country is in decline is the politicization of the rule of law.”
Conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy said that while it would be “easier” for him if Trump were no longer in the GOP primary, he doesn’t “want to win” that way.
“It’s another sad moment in our country’s history. The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, has yet again been indicted by the Biden DOJ, a political party in power that is now repeatedly using police force to indict and arrest and potentially eliminate its political opponents from competition,” Ramaswamy said in a video. “This is a politicized prosecution. It is a political persecution through prosecution. Now in a third indictment just in a matter of months, against the person who is still at present the lead contender in the Republican primary for US President.”
“We do not want to become a country where the party in power is able to use Banana Republic-like tactics to eliminate its political opponents,” Ramaswamy added.
Former Vice President Mike Pence differed from his 2024 rivals, and took aim at the former president for demanding he “choose between him and the Constitution” on Jan. 6.
“Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States,” Pence said in a statement. “I will have more to say about the government’s case after reviewing the indictment. The former president is entitled to the presumption of innocence but with this indictment, his candidacy means more talk about January 6th and more distractions.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also took aim at the former president following the announcement of Trump’s third impeachment.
“The events around the White House from election night forward are a stain on our country’s history & a disgrace to the people who participated,” Christie wrote in a tweet. “This disgrace falls the most on Donald Trump. He swore an oath to the Constitution, violated his oath & brought shame to his presidency.”
The former president announced on July 18 that he was the target of Smith’s investigation, and had received a letter from the prosecutor. Trump was previously indicted by Smith in Miami, Florida, for allegedly mishandling classified documents, of which three new charges were tacked on in a superseding indictment last Thursday — two additional counts of obstruction and one more count of willful retention.
Trump was also indicted in late March by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for allegedly falsifying business records when paying back former attorney Michael Cohen who gave porn star actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson criticized Trump for his alleged involvement in Jan. 6, and argued the former president should drop out of the race.
“This is another sad day for America with a former President being charged criminally for obstructing the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “January 6 is a day that calls for accountability for those responsible. I have always said that Donald Trump is morally responsible for the attack on our democracy. Now, our system of Justice will determine whether he is criminally responsible. The latest indictment reaffirms my earlier call that Donald Trump should step away from the campaign for the good of the country. If not, the voters must choose a different path.”
Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd echoed Hutchinson’s sentiment, and slammed the former president for claiming the 2020 election was “stolen, rigged, or fraudulent,” and argued Trump violated the Constitution.
“Let me be crystal clear: Trump’s presidential bid is driven by an attempt to stay out of prison and scam his supporters into footing his legal bills. Furthermore, his denial of the 2020 election results and actions on Jan. 6 show he’s unfit for office,” Hurd said in a statement. “As Republicans we need to prioritize offering solutions to difficult issues affecting all Americans and not allow ourselves to be distracted by Trump’s baggage. If we make the upcoming election about Trump, we are giving Joe Biden another four years in the White House.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
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