Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) weighed in Monday on Donald Trump’s possible criminal indictment in New York, breaking a two-day long silence on the former president’s claim that he will be arrested this week.
Asked about the rumored indictment during an event, DeSantis lambasted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is investigating hush money paid to a porn star on Trump’s behalf during his 2016 campaign, calling him a “Soros-funded prosecutor” and accusing him of “weaponizing” his office.
“I’ve seen rumors swirl. I have not seen any facts yet, and so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said DeSantis, a likely 2024 Republican presidential hopeful. “But I do know this: The Manhattan district attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor and so he, like other Soros-funded prosecutors, they weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety.”
DeSantis didn’t mention Trump by name, choosing instead to grill Bragg over his approach to crime in New York City, though he drew a laugh from the audience when he quipped that he doesn’t “know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair.”
“But what I can speak to is if you have a prosecutor, who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction, and he chooses to go back many, many years ago to try to use something about porn star hush money payments, that’s an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office,” he said.
Still, DeSantis also noted that his office would not be involved in the case “in any way,” signaling that he has no plans to help Trump fight extradition to New York should he face charges.
The remarks were DeSantis’s first on the potential indictment since Trump claimed in a Saturday post on his social media site that he would be arrested on Tuesday and urged his supporters to protest any possible criminal charges against him.
DeSantis’s initial silence on the matter kicked off a pressure campaign by Trump’s allies, who raised questions about why the Florida governor hadn’t chimed in on the former president’s claims.
Other current and prospective Republican presidential candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, came out in defense of Trump over the weekend, casting Bragg’s investigation as politically motivated.
Ramaswamy specifically sought to pressure DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, one of the few declared Republican presidential candidates, to condemn Bragg’s “political persecution through prosecution” of Trump.