Several of Donald Trump’s rivals in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination were quick to react to news that the former president has been indicted on charges stemming from the Justice Department’s investigation into his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and his alleged efforts to obstruct the probe.
Trump, who in April became the first former U.S. president to be charged with a crime in an alleged New York state-level money affair, is now the first to be indicted on federal charges. He is the current frontrunner in the GOP primary.
Here’s what some of the other contenders in the race had to say about the indictment.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
“The militarization of federal law enforcement poses a deadly threat to a free society,” DeSantis tweeted. “We have seen for years unequal application of the law based on political affiliation. Why so zealous about prosecuting Trump and yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter? The DeSantis administration will hold the DOJ accountable, eliminate political bias, and end militarization once and for all.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
“We don’t get our news from Trump’s Truth Social account,” Christie tweeted. “Let’s see what the facts are when a possible indictment is made public. As I said before, no one is above the law, even if they want to. We will have more to say when the facts are revealed.
Former Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson
“With the news that Donald Trump has been indicted for the second time, our country finds itself in a position that weakens our democracy,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Donald Trump’s actions – from his willful disregard for the Constitution to his disrespect for the rule of law – should not define our nation or the Republican Party. It is a sad day for our country. While Donald Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the ongoing criminal proceedings will be a major distraction. This reaffirms the need for Donald Trump to respect office and end his campaign.
Senator Tim Scott, RS.C.
“One thing that makes America the city on the hill is confidence in our justice system,” Scott said on Fox News Thursday night. “And today what we see is a judicial system where the scales are weighted. It seems to be the result of the current situation. As President of the United States, I would purge all injustices and impurities of our system so that every American can trust that they will be seen by the Lady of Justice with a blindfold on. That is what we need in this nation.
“We cannot have two levels of justice: one for Trump, another for Biden”, the entrepreneur tweeted. “There are also serious legal questions regarding the president’s power to declassify documents and the potential illegality of overclassifying federal documents in the first place. It’s up to the courts to decide, but *we the people* decide who rules this nation. It would be much easier for me to win this election if Trump weren’t in the race, but I stand for principle rather than politics. I pledge to pardon Trump promptly on January 20, 2025 and restore the rule of law to our country.
“The punishment for espionage can be quite severe!” the Michigan businessman and longtime GOP candidate tweeted. “Every GOP presidential candidate must say if they would forgive Donald Trump!”
Notably, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Trump ambassador to the United Nations and ex-South Carolina governor Nikki Haley have yet to publicly weigh in on the indictment.
Pence said of the then-prospective indictment on Wednesday: “I just hope there’s a way to move forward without the dramatic, drastic and divisive step of indictment of a former President of the United States.”