Reactions to Donald Trump’s indictment

The charges come as Trump seeks the Republican nomination to run again in 2024.

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response at the White House in Washington
Donald Trump became the first former US president to face criminal charges [File: Reuters]

Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury after a probe into alleged hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, becoming the first former United States president to face criminal charges.

The charges from an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg come as Trump seeks the Republican nomination to run again in 2024.

Below are the reactions to the news of the indictment:

‘Political persecution’: Donald Trump

Trump released a statement on his Truth Social platform shortly after the news broke.

“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history,” Trump said.

“From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats – the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country – have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement.”

“The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable – indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference,” he added.

‘Florida will not assist in an extradition request’: Ron DeSantis

Florida governor and a potential challenger for the 2024 Republican nomination Ron DeSantis said the decision was “un-American”.

“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter.

“Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances…”

‘An outrage’: Mike Pence on CNN

“This is an outrage, but I also think at a time when the American people are struggling so much, that this will only further serve to divide our country,” Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with CNN.

‘Trump is subject to the same laws as every American’:  Democrat Chuck Schumer

“Mr Trump is subject to the same laws as every American. He will be able to avail himself of the legal system and a jury, not politics, to determine his fate according to the facts and the law,” US Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

“I encourage both Mr Trump’s critics and supporters to let the process proceed peacefully and according to the law,” he added.

‘More about revenge than it is about justice’: Nikki Haley

Trump’s former United Nations ambassador and candidate for the Republican nomination Nikki Haley said in an interview with Fox News that the indictment was more a political move than a search for justice.

“From everything I’ve seen from this New York district attorney, this would be something he’d be doing for political points. And I think what we know is when you get into political prosecutions like this, it’s more about revenge than it is about justice,” Haley said.

“I think the country would be better off talking about things that the American public cares about than have to deal with some revenge by some political people in New York,” she added.

‘A sad day for America’: Rudy Giuliani

‘This is a politically-motivated attack against a man who ran against the powers-that-be and the permanent Washington political class,’ Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Twitter.

‘No one is above the law’:  Nancy Pelosi

Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement released on Thursday that the jury “acted upon the facts and the law”.

“No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence. Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right,” Pelosi added.

‘The indictment … is unprecedented’: Adam Schiff

Democratic US representative Adam Schiff said the country should “hold the rich and powerful accountable”.

“The indictment of a former president is unprecedented,” Schiff said on Twitter.

“But so too is the unlawful conduct in which Trump has been engaged. A nation of laws must hold the rich and powerful accountable, even when they hold high office. Especially when they do. To do otherwise is not democracy,” he added.

This is ‘just the beginning’: Michael Cohen

According to a report by CNN, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said that the indictment was “not the end of this chapter”.

“For the first time in our Country’s history, a President (current or former) of the United States has been indicted. I take no pride in issuing this statement and wish to also remind everyone of the presumption of innocence; as provided by the due process clause,” Cohen said.

“However, I do take solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former President. Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather, just the beginning. Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictment speak for itself,” he added.

‘Garbage’: Ted Cruz on Twitter

Republican US senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter and said this indictment is “utter garbage, baseless and frivolous”.

‘Opportunistic targeting’: Eric Trump

Trump’s second oldest son, Eric Trump, called the indictment “third world prosecutorial misconduct”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies