Republican lawmakers and former elected officials have spoken out about former President Donald Trump’s historic indictment, many of them dismissing the allegations of misconduct as politically motivated.
Here are some of the latest comments from officials and figures in the former president’s party:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: DeSantis attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting “a former president on misdemeanor offenses” for “purely political purposes” in a speech Saturday at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference.
“That is when you know that the law has been weaponized for political purposes; that is when you know that the left is using that to target their political opponent,” DeSantis said.
On Thursday, shortly after the news broke that the New York grand jury indicted Trump, DeSantis issued a similar statement on Twitter that criticized Bragg, but didn’t mention the former president.
The indictment remains under seal so it is not publicly known what charges Trump faces.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin: Youngkin briefly chided Bragg over the grand jury’s indictment.
“This is the prosecutor who told everybody he was going to go do this in order to get elected,” the Republican governor told reporters in Virginia.
(Bragg ran as a reformer, and on the campaign trail he highlighted his prior work on lawsuits against the Trump administration.)
Youngkin had come to Trump’s defense on Twitter Thursday night, without mentioning the former president by name. He wrote it’s “beyond belief” that Bragg “indicted a former President and current presidential candidate for pure political gain.”
In his remarks Friday, Youngkin pivoted to a call for the US to “put this kind of politics down,” and said he is more concerned with helping Virginia residents than commenting further on divisive national narratives.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: Bush defended Trump, calling the the Manhattan grand jury indictment “very political” and “not a matter of justice” in a tweet Saturday morning.
“Bragg’s predecessor didn’t take up the case. The Justice Department didn’t take up the case,” wrote Bush, one of Trump’s top 2016 presidential rivals.
“This is very political, not a matter of justice,” he added. “In this case, let the jury be the voters.”
Bush called for a Republican to challenge Trump in his bid for reelection in 2020. Trump lobbed insults at Bush on multiple occasions during the 2016 Republican primary before Bush suspended his campaign. The former governor said he would not vote for Trump.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr: Barr, who served as attorney general under the Trump administration before stepping down over the former president’s election lies, called the indictment a “political hit job,” arguing that it’s a “weak case.”
“It’s the archetypal abuse of the prosecutorial function,” Barr said at the National Review Institute summit held in Washington, DC. “It’s a disgrace if it turns out what we think it is.”
Nonetheless, Barr said he believed it would be politically damaging to the Republican Party. He called it a “no-lose situation” for Democrats, allowing them to focus the run-up to the 2024 election on Trump, either handing him the nomination or leaving the eventual nominee with another scandal to deal with.
But “legally, I think, from what I understand, it’s a pathetically weak case,” he said.
Read more reactions from the GOP here.