The ex-president, who once tried a coup, now faces 91 felony charges from four different cases. But most of his rivals? They’re keeping quiet about it in their campaigns.
Even with 91 charges against the former president, who’s leading the race for the 2024 Republican nomination, most of his competition is biting their tongues. Only a few dare to talk about it.
While at the Iowa State Fair, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) suggested to reporters that the recent charge from Georgia, which claims Trump built a “criminal group” to illegally stay in power after losing the 2020 election, was more of a stain on the Fulton County district attorney than on Trump.
“We see the legal system being weaponized against political opponents. That is un-American and unacceptable. At the end of the day, we need a better system than that,” Scott said.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech big shot who’s said he’d pardon Trump of any federal crimes if he becomes president, was already bashing the Georgia case before it was made public. “Prosecutors should not be deciding U.S. presidential elections,” he said Monday night.
Ex-Vice President Mike Pence, though he’s told Trump off for acting “bigger than the law,” thinks voters, not judges, should decide Trump’s future.
About the new charge, after talking to ABC News on Monday, he basically said he’s in the dark about what Trump did in Georgia, like that famous call where Trump asked officials to get him more votes than Joe Biden.
Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, who some folks thought would pass Trump in popularity but hasn’t, just echoed what Trump’s supporters say when New England reporters asked him.
“I think it’s an example of this criminalization of politics. I don’t think that this is something that’s good for the country,” DeSantis said.
“I have an idea: Why doesn’t Ron DeSantis run against Trump?” Rick Tyler chimed in, a wry grin on his face. He’d been in the mix when Ted Cruz was gunning for that GOP nomination back in 2016, cozying up to Trump like there was no tomorrow, all in the hopes of snagging some of them Trump fans.
Well, turns out that didn’t pan out too well. Yet, here we are in 2024, and it’s like the new batch of candidates skipped that memo, Tyler remarked, “I don’t know. It’s blindingly obvious what they have to do to beat Trump.”
But here’s the scoop: The charges that landed on Trump’s doorstep on August 1 and that Georgia indictment that just dropped on a Monday night? They’re not about him trying to twist arms for recounts or legal showdowns to flip those election losses.
And he ain’t on trial for spinning tales about a supposedly ‘stolen’ election either. It’s a whole different ballgame. Both of them claim he cooked up a plan to con the voters by twisting his VP’s arm into accepting fake elector slates, all so he could snag some states he’d actually lost.
And that whole plan? Well, it backfired big time when the whole Capitol craziness went down on January 6, 2021. Pence didn’t go along with the script, you see.
Now, let’s talk turkey: Out of the bunch aiming to give Trump a run for his money, only a trio have been consistent in calling out his post-election antics as a disqualification for the top spot. And wouldn’t you know it, all three took their shots again once those Georgia charges hit the scene.
Remember Will Hurd, the ex-Texas congressman? Last month, he caught some boos in Iowa for saying Trump was just running to dodge prison time. Now he’s saying, “This is further evidence that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and was ready to do anything it took to cling to power. He will use this indictment as another opportunity to manipulate Americans into paying his legal bills.”
Then there’s Asa Hutchinson, the old Arkansas Gov said “Over a year ago, I said that Donald Trump’s actions disqualified him from ever serving as president again. Those words are more true today than ever before.”
And let’s not forget Chris Christie, the former New Jersey Gov. He’s been slamming Trump’s post-election antics like a bull in a china shop. He hopped on Fox News the other morning and flat-out said, “We can’t normalize this conduct. This has never happened before in this country. Ever. Where you had a candidate for president of the United States conduct himself in this way, to disrespect the election process in this way, to refuse to accept the verdict of the voters.”
Now, when some reporter poked Scott in Iowa, trying to get him to spill if he’d also be hollering for Georgia’s election folks to flip his own election loss, Scott just played dodgeball: “Next question!” He dodged that like a pro!
But hang on, here’s the twist – neither Hurd nor Hutchinson can even hit that 1% mark in the big polls. Christie’s barely scraping the bottom at just under 3%. But hold up, he’s making waves in New Hampshire, climbing up to second place, right behind Trump, with a respectable 9% compared to Trump’s mighty 49%.
That’s why most Republican strategists – even the ones not feelin’ the Trump love and wishin’ the party would move on – don’t reckon they’ll be throwin’ hard punches at him. See, he’s got a big ol’ fanbase within the party, so his rivals will still stand up for him while they’re supposedly fightin’ against him.
As Tim Miller, a big shot from the Republican National Committee, puts it, “They make money win or lose, and it’s the path of least resistance”
On top of those two indictments for his bid to stick around after losing the election, Trump’s got a whole 40-count federal indictment down in South Florida. Seems he was playing hide and seek with some top secret papers at his fancy country club and trying to give the slip to the authorities on the hunt. And that ain’t all – there’s a 34-count indictment from New York State accusing him of cooking up fake business records to hide a cool $130,000 hush money payment to a certain adult film star right before that 2016 election hoopla.