As Republicans rallied around newly indicted former President Donald Trump on Saturday, presumed 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis added a new target to his standard stump speech: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Speaking to a group of Republicans near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, DeSantis said Bragg has distorted campaign finance laws in order to bring charges against Trump.
“That is when you know that the law has been weaponized for political purposes,” DeSantis said during a section of his speech in which he criticized “progressive” law enforcement in general. After Trump’s indictment was announced, he said Florida would not assist in any potential extradition process.
DeSantis is one of many Republicans who has rallied behind Trump in the wake of the indictment, including the ones who are planning to challenge him for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, a group that includes Nikki Haley and Mike Pence.
Though DeSantis has not yet announced a 2024 presidential bid, he’s viewed by many as Trump’s biggest competitor in the race.
Out of a list of 15 Republicans who have declared a 2024 presidential run or are expected to, Trump receives 47% of support among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 33%, a new Quinnipiac University poll found. Former Vice President Mike Pence receives 5% and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley receives 4%. The other candidates’ support fell under 2%, according to the poll.
Haley, who announced in February that she was running for president, said in an interview with Fox News that Bragg’s case is for “political points” and “revenge” on Trump, while Pence, who is still weighing a bid, called the indictment “unprecedented.”
Even Republicans who have been critical of Trump deplored the indictment.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, defeated in the 2016 Republican primaries under withering assaults by Trump, noted that prosecutors have previously passed up the case against Trump on these allegations.
“Bragg’s predecessor didn’t take up the case,” Bush tweeted Saturday. “The Justice Department didn’t take up the case. Bragg first said he would not take up the case. This is very political, not a matter of justice. In this case, let the jury be the voters.”