Multiple Republican candidates running for president have criticized the ongoing investigations into former President Donald Trump, citing political bias and the weaponization of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Trump himself has accused President Joe Biden of leading the “most corrupt administration in American history” and dismissed the probes into his business dealings and handling of classified documents as baseless and a witch hunt.
On Tuesday, Trump appeared in a Florida court and was arraigned on 37 federal counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents. Outside the courthouse, Trump supporters gathered, and some even celebrated at a nearby restaurant by singing “Happy Birthday” to him. The positive response from the public led CNN and MSNBC to cut their live coverage.
Despite having two Republican presidential candidates in Florida, only one of them, Vivek Ramaswamy, was present at the courthouse on Tuesday to show support for the embattled former president. The recent indictments against Trump have sparked significant interest within the GOP party.
Republican Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy just called on all other Presidential Candidates to sign a letter agreeing to pardon Donald Trump for what he is being arraigned on today.— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) June 13, 2023
I simply don’t get it. Why not allow the court of law to decide if he’s innocent or… pic.twitter.com/5XuIk1XyfC
Trump’s popularity is on the rise, as indicated by a recent Quinnipiac poll that places him ahead of his closest competitor, Governor Ron DeSantis, by a substantial margin of 30 points.
In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted mostly after news broke of Trump's indictment, 53% support the former president's 2024 bid https://t.co/YRIvnvYzdZ— Bloomberg (@business) June 14, 2023
Vivek Ramaswamy strategically made a statement announcing that his first action as President would be to pardon Trump, which led some to speculate that he was vying for a potential Vice President or high-ranking Cabinet position in a hypothetical Trump administration.
During his show of support for Trump at the Miami courthouse on Tuesday, Ramaswamy strongly criticized the Department of Justice, accusing them of employing tactics reminiscent of a “police state” by arresting the former President.
Addressing the crowd, Ramaswamy stated, “As a Republican candidate, it would be much easier for me if Donald Trump were not in the race. However, unlike others, I do not want to win this election by eliminating our competition through the use of federal law enforcement to arrest my opponents.”
Ramaswamy also claimed that influential GOP donors had advised him to refrain from commenting on the Trump issue, asserting, “GOP donors have instructed every Republican candidate to steer clear of this matter… I refuse to be bound by the demands of the donor class.”
Vivek Ramaswamy !— J6 Videos (@J6Videos) June 13, 2023
This will be the VP pick for FREE Trump in 2024
Miami Courthouse White House TrumpArraignment pic.twitter.com/E4EkTBLAaj
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On Tuesday evening, GOP candidate Larry Elder joined Ramaswamy in pledging that if elected President, he “would instruct [his] Attorney General to drop the politically-motivated charges against Trump.”
In an interview with Fox News, Elder said:
“I can tell you that it is deeply disturbing that Hillary Clinton was not charged for her blatant violation of the Espionage Act when she destroyed her private email server. And why is the special counsel investigation into [President] Biden’s mishandling of classified documents taking so much longer than the investigation of Trump?”
Both Governor DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence expressed their disapproval of Trump’s indictment. DeSantis criticized what he perceived as a double standard, stating:
“It is crucial to have a single standard of justice in our country. We must apply it to everyone and ensure that we all understand the rules. It is unacceptable for a particular group within society to exploit the power of the state against factions it opposes, and that is precisely what we are witnessing.”
Mike Pence stated, “I cannot defend the allegations that have been made. However, the President deserves his day in court, the chance to present his defense, and I will reserve judgment until he has the opportunity to respond.”