(The Center Square) – Former President Donald Trump’s latest indictment has sparked a flurry of pushback from Republicans and conservatives, who call it a political effort to take down the Republican frontrunner for president.
A Fulton County grand jury indicted the former president on 13 counts related to trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Georgia’s electoral votes narrowly went to President Joe Biden.
“This is disgraceful,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wrote on social media. “We had never indicted a former president or a leading presidential candidate. Joe Biden Democrats are weaponizing the justice system because they fear the voters.”
The indictment also levels charges against several who have served on Trump’s legal team, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Nineteen people, including Trump, face charges.
“The DOJ isn’t just going after President Trump, they’re going after everyday Americans who oppose their radical views,” Matt Schlapp, who chairs the Conservative Political Action Committee, wrote on social media. “Trump is a unique historical figure who can fight all this but behind him are other victims of DOJ & FBI who are not rich and powerful.”
Trump wrote on social media Tuesday morning that he would host a press conference next Monday to respond to the indictment and provide evidence of alleged fraud in the 2020 election. The first debate among Republican presidential candidates follows two days later in Milwaukee.
“A Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT on the Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia is almost complete & will be presented by me at a major News Conference at 11:00 A.M. on Monday of next week in Bedminster, New Jersey,” he wrote. “Based on the results of this CONCLUSIVE Report, all charges should be dropped against me & others – There will be a complete EXONERATION! They never went after those that Rigged the Election. They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!”
Trump’s campaign released a statement late Monday blasting the allegations as “fabricated.”
“All of these corrupt Democrat attempts will fail,” the campaign said. “Combined with the intentionally slow-walked investigations by the Biden-Smith goon squads and the false charges in New York, the timing of this latest coordinated strike by a biased prosecutor in an overwhelmingly Democrat jurisdiction not only betrays the trust of the American people, but also exposes true motivation driving their fabricated accusations.”
Many Democrats welcomed the indictments as long overdue.
Congressional chamber leaders issued a joint statement late Monday evening.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said the accusations portray “a repeated pattern of criminal activity by the former president.” They urged “Trump, his supporters, and his critics to allow the legal process to proceed without outside interference.”
On the MSNBC network, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this is “a terrible moment for our country, to have a former president accused of these terribly important crimes. The only satisfaction may be that the system is working. Justice is being pursued.”
Clinton lost to Trump in 2016.
Trump’s campaign took a common line of attack against the latest indictments, pointing out they have been much delayed and are now in the middle of election season. Fundraising emails also went out Monday afternoon.
“They could have brought this two and half years ago, yet they chose to do this for election interference reasons in the middle of President Trump’s successful campaign,” the campaign said. “He is not only leading all Republicans by a lot but he is leading against Joe Biden in almost every poll. President Trump represents the greatest threat to these Democrats’ political futures (and the greatest hope for America). The legal double-standard set against President Trump must end.”
Many conservatives immediately defended Trump, who leads the Republican primary field by a wide margin.
“Political motivated liberal DAs targeted me and my allies for years until a federal judge shut them down so forgive me if I am a bit cynical about another politically motivated liberal DA targeting President Trump,” Scott Walker, former governor of Wisconsin and current president of Young America’s Foundation, wrote on social media.
One of Trump’s primary opponents, entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy, defended him.
“Here we go again: another disastrous Trump indictment,” Ramaswamy wrote on social media. “It’s downright pathetic that Fulton County publicly posted the indictment on its website even before the grand jury had finished convening. Since the four prosecutions against Trump are using novel & untested legal theories, it’s fair game for him to do the same in defense: immediately file a motion to dismiss for a constitutional due process violation for publicly issuing an indictment before the grand jury had actually signed one.
“He should make a strong argument on these grounds & it would send a powerful message to the ever-expansive prosecutorial police state,” he added.
Ramaswamy said prosecutors “should not be deciding U.S. presidential elections.”
“As someone who’s running for President against Trump, I’d volunteer to write the amicus brief to the court myself: prosecutors should not be deciding U.S. presidential elections, and if they’re so overzealous that they commit constitutional violations, then the cases should be thrown out & they should be held accountable,” he said.
Trump faces an array of other charges in New York, Florida and Washington, D.C., related to his alleged payments to Stormy Daniels, his handling of classified documents, and his work to allegedly overturn the 2020 election.
“Today’s indictment is just the latest political attack in the Democrats’ WITCH HUNT against President Trump,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote on social media. “He did nothing wrong!”