The Governor of Florida and the former Vice President defended Donald Trump after his indictment.
In their first remarks since former Donald Trump’s federal indictment, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence rushed to defend their rival. This demonstrated the tightrope that other candidates running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination will pass through during the primary season.
The former president gained political momentum and raised over $4 million during the first 24 hours after news of his Manhattan indictment.
During the North Carolina Republican Party convention on Friday, DeSantis wondered if there is “a different standard for a Democrat secretary of state versus a former Republican president?” in reference to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. He further said that “there needs to be one standard of justice in this country. Let’s enforce it on everybody.”
“You can’t have one faction of society weaponizing the power of the state against factions that it doesn’t like.”
Speaking to a smaller group at the same convention on Saturday, Pence demanded that Attorney General Merrick Garland explain to the American people “why this indictment went forward.”
He explained further that the former president is facing “an unprecedented indictment by a justice department run by the current president” in an effort to highlight what he observes as unequal treatment by the justice system.
Among the GOP field are former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Time Scott (R-S.C) – who are not willing to condemn Trump after a 37-count indictment over his handling of classified documents. That said, only former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have criticized Trump’s conduct.
The big story
Earlier this week, Trump confirmed on June 9 that he has been indicted over his handling of classified documents after leaving office, in another legal threat to his bid for a second White House term.
“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, though there was no immediate confirmation from the Justice Department regarding Trump’s assertion.
A Trump attorney, Jim Trusty, told CNN that his client has been indicted on seven charges, including the deliberate retention of documents in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements, obstruction of justice, and a count of conspiracy.
In his post, Trump said he has been summoned to a federal courthouse in Miami next Tuesday. “I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States,” he wrote.
His announcement came a day after US media said federal prosecutors had informed the former President’s lawyers that he is the target of the probe into his handling of classified documents.
Trump was already the first former or sitting president to be charged with a crime — in his case over election-eve hush money payments to a porn star who said she had an affair with him.
Last year, in an interview for CBS News channel, Pence relayed his refusal to testify before the January 6 panel by the House of Representatives for the attack on the US Capitol, on account that Congress “has no right to my testimony.”
Pence expressed that doing so would establish a “terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House.”
He said he would not cooperate at his own will. “I’m closing the door on that,” he stressed.