Calling the move “political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history,” former President Donald Trump released a lengthy statement upon learning that a New York grand jury voted on March 30 to indict him on unspecified criminal charges.
The news sparked outrage and support from multiple Republicans, including 2024 GOP presidential primary rival Vivek Ramaswamy and potential rival Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has drawn Trump’s ire in recent weeks.
Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina has said that, in the event of an indictment, Trump would surrender himself to Manhattan.
DeSantis, in a statement following the indictment, said his state would not cooperate with authorities if asked.
“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,” DeSantis said. “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.
Trump’s lawyers confirmed the indictment, which marks the first time a former president has been criminally charged.
“President Trump has been indicted. He did not commit any crime,” said Tacopina. “We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg acknowledged that his office notified Trump’s lawyers.
“This evening, we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender… for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” a Bragg spokesperson said. “Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”
Ramaswamy said in a statement that “the politically motivated indictment of the 45th president of the United States marks a dark moment in American history.
“This will undermine public trust in our electoral system and our justice system. It is un-American for the ruling party to use police power to arrest political rivals. Principles go beyond partisanship. The American people should decide who governs. Not politically ambitious prosecutors,” Ramaswamy said.
“Our entire country is skating on thin ice now and we cannot afford to politicize the justice system or else we will reach our breaking point,” he said. “I pray for our national unity and call on every current and prospective Presidential candidate in both parties to condemn this dangerously politicized prosecution.”
Most Republicans who released a statement about Trump’s indictment share a common viewpoint—that the decision represents political persecution.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) said, “It’s a sad state of affairs when socialist DAs would rather pursue a politically motivated witch hunt against President Donald Trump than crack down on violent crime. The American people won’t forget.”
Kari Lake, the Trump-backed Republican nominee in Arizona’s gubernatorial race last November, said “the radical left and their weaponized criminal justice system have crossed all legal and ethical lines in an attempt to destroy” Trump.
“Jailing your political opponents based on frivolous politically motivated accusations is something that you’d expect to see out of third-world dictatorships or banana republics,” Lake said.
“And now, after a relentless assault on our beloved United States Constitution and our institutional norms, the radical left has accelerated this country’s decline into a broken system that allows for the political persecution of anyone who threatens the status quo,” Lake continued.
Trump “denies any wrongdoing” and has “produced numerous pieces of evidence from the Grand Jury’s star witnesses (Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen) refuting these accusations,” she said.
“It is also quite clear that the only potential wrongdoing here would be an FEC crime punishable by a fine, not potential imprisonment.
“This political prosecution should receive bipartisan condemnation. The precedent this sets threatens to further divide a country that already seems to be on the verge of tearing itself apart,” Lake added.
“I stand unequivocally beside President Donald J. Trump and in defense of the rule of law,” she said. “I am calling on all others to do the same.”
Jenna Ellis, a former Trump senior adviser and attorney, described the indictment as “a legal disaster, and weaponizing the justice system against a political opponent.”
“The only reason DA Alvin Bragg is bringing charges is because Trump is running for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination,” Ellis said. “The DNC and RNC want a post-Trump America, yet they are incentivizing donors and the MAGA base to rally support against Trump because no one deserves to be politically prosecuted.”
Freshman Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), who graduated from Harvard Law School and was endorsed by Trump, called the indictment “political persecution masquerading as law.”
“Donald Trump is the former President of the United States, the leader of our nation’s political opposition, and the presumptive Republican nominee in 2024,” Vance said in a statement. “Alvin Bragg’s decision to indict him is blatant election interference and a direct assault on the tens of millions of Americans who support him.
“To make matters worse, this entire charade is predicated on an unprecedented, doomed-to-fail legal theory and a baseless misdemeanor charge from seven years ago,” he added.
“While the radical left continues their obsession with harassing Donald Trump, the American people are suffering. Families are struggling to put food on the table, violent crime is running rampant in our cities, and thousands have been poisoned by the fentanyl pouring across our southern border, Vance said.
“Instead of working to improve the lives of the Americans they are supposed to represent, the ruling party is focused on knee-capping their greatest threat in the next election,” he said.
In his statement, Trump chastised President Joe Biden, Bragg, and the Democrats’ “obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump.’”
“The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever.
“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace. Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!”
Trump added that he believes “this witch hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden.”
“The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it.” Trump wrote. “So our Movement, and our Party—united and strong—will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”