Former US President Donald Trump has reacted with outrage at the indictment against him in New York. "This is political persecution and electoral interference at the highest level in history," said last night (local time) in a written statement from the Republican, who wants to run again as his party's presidential candidate in the 2024 election.
A so-called grand jury in New York had previously voted to indict Trump in connection with hush money payments to a porn actress. This was confirmed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. His office contacted Trump's attorney to coordinate his transfer to New York for indictment. The exact charges and details are still unclear. Never before in US history has an ex-president been charged with a crime.
Outrage among party friends
Trump sees the indictment as an "attack on our country". It is also an attack on the "once" free elections, the US is now a "Third World country" and a nation in decline, the Republican wrote on Thursday on the network and Twitter replacement Truth Social that he co-founded. In his post, several words were in capital letters, the word "accused" was misspelled.
Several Republicans responded with outrage on Twitter, describing the indictment as an attack on democracy. "This New York indictment fraud against President Donald Trump is one of the clearest examples of extremist Democrats using government accountability as a weapon to attack their political opponents. ' wrote House Republican Leader Steve Scalise.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted, "I'm with Trump!!!" And Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. wrote: "This is not just the far left weaponizing government to target their political enemies, but weaponizing government to meddle in the 2024 election, to stop trump the only solution is to shove it down their throats and bring him back to the white house!!!
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declined to support a possible extradition request. "When the legal system is used as a weapon to advance a political agenda, the rule of law is turned on its head," the prominent US Republican also wrote on Twitter. DeSantis is Trump's internal competitor. DeSantis is expected to run as the presidential candidate in the November 2024 election.
Meanwhile, Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy attacked Attorney Bragg. "While he routinely releases violent criminals to terrorize the public, he has used our sacred legal system against President Donald Trump," he wrote on Twitter. McCarthy is considered a Trump ally.
Shortly before his election as president in 2016, Trump had paid hush money to the porn actress - this could conflict with campaign finance rules. A 23-member grand jury will decide whether to press charges after prosecutors have presented evidence. Trump had described the investigation in New York, like other investigations against him before, as a "witch hunt".
Trump: 'Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen'
Trump also spoke of this in his reaction to the historical development in New York. He accused the Democrats of trying to harm him politically since his first presidential bid for the 2016 election and of harassing him with various investigations during his tenure. "The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession to 'get' Trump, but now they have done the unthinkable - impeach a completely innocent person in an act of blatant electoral interference," Trump said. "This has never happened in the history of our country."
Weaponizing the American judicial system to crack down on a political opponent who happens to be the leading Republican candidate for president has never happened before, Trump wrote, predicting it would backfire on President Joe Biden and his Democrats.