Ron DeSantis sought to have it all sorts of ways Monday on Donald Trump’s possible indictment, criticizing the prosecutor in charge of the case but also pointing out that it involves “porn star hush money payments.”
The comments drew political attacks from Trump and his allies, who are trying to pressure Republicans for support at a time when he faces the prospect of being the first former president in history to be indicted.
District Attorney Alvin Bragg for considering prosecution of a former president.At a news conference in Florida, DeSantis said he would not get involved in the case but did criticize Manhattan
Bragg “chooses to go back many, many years ago, to try to use something about porn star hush money payments,” DeSantis said. “You know, that’s an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office.”
Trump aides interpreted the “porn star” reference as an attack and described his defense as less than enthusiastic.
“Are you kidding me? SAY HIS NAME!” tweeted Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington. “What a total fraud he is. He takes a dig at President Trump who is being falsely accused and can’t even say his name.”
Trump himself weighed in by citing unverified accusations about DeSantis during his high school teaching days – and issuing a threat to the Florida governor. “Ron DeSanctimonious will probably find out about FALSE ACCUSATIONS & FAKE STORIES sometime in the future,” Trump said on the Truth Social website. “I’m sure he will want to fight these misfits just like I do!”
Over the weekend, Trump said on his Truth Social platform that he expected to be arrested Tuesday in the case that revolves around payments to Stormy Daniels.
There’s no indication anything will happen Tuesday. The grand jury in New York heard Monday from Robert Costello, a Republican lawyer with ties to Trump’s legal team.
While Trump ratcheted up political tensions over the case, he and supporters also demanded statements of solidarity from other Republicans, particularly those who are considering running against him for the 2024 presidential nomination. DeSantis was a prominent target of these demands.
On Monday, the Florida governor responded to a reporter’s question about whether he would get involved in the potential extradition of Trump – a Palm Beach resident – to New York City.
“We are not involved in this, won’t be involved in this,” DeSantis replied. “I have no interest in getting involved in some type of manufactured circus.”
The Trump reaction quickly followed.
“So DeSantis thinks that Dems weaponizing the law to indict President Trump is a ‘manufactured circus’ & isn’t a ‘real issue.'” tweeted Donald Trump Jr. “Pure weakness.”
The former president himself did not respond.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who also is considering a 2024 run, criticized Bragg’s prosecution. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, an announced candidate, has not commented on Trump’s possible indictment in the New York case.
Trump also faces possible legal charges in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., over efforts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election and the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021. A Justice Department special counsel is also investigating Trump over the handling of classified material.
All the candidates also noted that the prospect of criminal charges remains, at this point, speculative.
“So I’ve seen rumors swirl,” DeSantis said. “I have not seen any facts yet.”