Republican 2024 presidential candidates react to Trump's 2nd indictment

ByMike Marza WABC logo
Friday, June 9, 2023
Republican 2024 presidential candidates react to Trump indictment
Donald Trump's Republican adversaries in the race for president are weighing in on his second indictment, this related to classified documents. Mike Marza has more.

The second indictment of former President Donald Trump has done little to slow his 2024 presidential campaign, and now many of his Republican rivals are weighing in on his latest legal troubles.

President Joe Biden, in North Carolina on Friday, tried to maintain distance from the probe into his top political opponent, saying he hasn't talked to the attorney general about the Trump investigation.

"I have no comment on what happened," the president said.

On the other side, Republican presidential candidates like former Vice President Mike Pence, calculated how to respond.

"I had hoped it wouldn't come to this," Pence said. "I had hoped the Department of Justice would see its way clear to resolve these issues with the former president without moving forward with charges."

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Trump's former vice president, who's now running against him, called it a dark day but stopped short of calling for Trump to drop out.

"I think any consideration of that would be premature," he said. "Look, everyone is innocent until proven guilty in America, and I think the former president has a right to make his defense. And we'll respect that right."

But fellow candidate, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson isn't waiting.

"Donald Trump is the target of an ongoing criminal investigation, and he should step aside and put the good of the country above his candidacy," he said in a tweet.

Most of the GOP has attacked the investigation.

"What we have seen the last few years is the weaponization of the Department of Justice against the former president," presidential candidate Tim Scott said. "You don't have to be a Republican to see injustice and want to fix it."

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis added, "The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society, why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?"

DeSantis referred to the investigations into President Biden's son Hunter and Hillary Clinton's emails.

"I'm just going to say whatever the standard is everybody needs to be held to that same standard and it sure does seem like there is a two-tier system of justice here," DeSantis said.

Former President Trump remains the clear front runner for the GOP presidential nomination, soaring to a 30-point lead even after he faced his first criminal indictment in New York in April.

Political analyst Hank Sheinkopf says, "Trump becomes a liability to some and an asset to some, vets may look at this and say he put everything I did at risk potentially."