What do the Republicans challenging Donald Trump for the party’s presidential nomination say about his supposedly forthcoming indictment in New York? It’s a quandary. They can’t celebrate it. The indictment, were it to happen, would surely go over poorly with most of the Republican primary electorate. They can’t champion it, thereby praising the work of a district attorney in deep-blue New York City. But they still want to find some way of saying: Maybe don’t support the guy who’s on the precipice of indictment for his infamously scummy ways?
One challenger, former Vice President Mike Pence, played it safe. Rather than slip a dig or two at Trump, he referred to the potential indictment as “another politically charged prosecution against the former president of the United States.”
“I think many Americans are taken aback at the unprecedented indictment of a former president,” Pence said in Iowa, “but also the fact that the Manhattan D.A., in the midst of a crime wave in New York City, then says that indicting the former president is his highest priority. It tells you everything you need to know about the liberal left in this country.”
Trump’s perceived top rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was silent on the matter over the weekend. This did not go unnoticed by Trump allies, who put public pressure on DeSantis to make his thoughts known.
“Pay attention to which Republicans spoke out against this corrupt BS immediately,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Sunday, “and who sat on their hands and waited to see which way the wind was blowing.”
DeSantis finally spoke up on the issue Monday morning at a press conference. Like Pence, DeSantis took shots at Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, describing him as a “Soros-funded prosecutor” who, along with his fellow “Soros-funded prosecutors,” will “weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety.” The criminals now run New York City, yadda yadda yadda.
Anything else to add on the topic?
“Look, I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair,” DeSantis added, as an aside, before going back into his criticism of Bragg.
DeSantis took this shot at Trump—of the classic “just state what the underlying controversy is” genre—without any knowing wink or laugh. But people in the room where he was speaking were laughing right away.
Don Jr. didn’t love DeSantis’ response. Oh no!
The old man himself, posting on his own social media network, warned that one day DeSantis himself soon could be falsely accused of sex things by a member of an unspecified gender.
Trump deleted that, and then reposted, so he could zhuzh it up with some grooming insinuations.
In his press conference, DeSantis said that he has “real issues to deal with” and that he needn’t involve himself any further in this “circus.” There, is, however, a way that Trump can drag DeSantis—who is, after all, his governor—into this.
“In the unlikely event that the former president refuses to surrender, he would put Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, his leading but undeclared rival for the Republican nomination, in an awkward political position,” the New York Times writes. “Under law, the role of Mr. DeSantis would be essentially ministerial and he would have few legal options other than approving an extradition request from New York.”
In other words, the governor would have to authorize an arrest warrant for Trump and schlep him off to New York, where purple-haired, eye-pierced, left-wing LUNATICS would imprison him for the simple crime of being the Greatest President in American History.
Would be a shame if we had to see that play out! Then again, Trump is an understanding person. He always gets it when his fellow Republicans’ hands are tied, and when they have no recourse but to execute “essentially ministerial” functions. Isn’t that right, Mike Pence? Mike? You there? Sorry, we’re hearing that Mike Pence is being evacuated from the building…