(CNSNews.com) – Florida will not cooperate in any extradition request for former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Thursday evening, calling his indictment on criminal charges “un-American.”
“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head,” DeSantis tweeted after news broke of the indictment against the former president, a resident of Florida.
A Manhattan federal jury indicted Trump on criminal charges that remain under seal, but the investigation deals with allegations of organizing hush money payments to an adult film star during his campaign for the White House in 2016. Trump has denied wrongdoing.
“The Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct,” DeSantis said, referring to District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the liberal billionaire George Soros. “Yet, now he is stretching the law to target a political opponent.”
“Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda.”
DeSantis, whose tweet garnered some 16 million views in the first six hours after being posted, is viewed as Trump’s most significant rival in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, although he has yet to declare.
As reaction to the news poured in, other declared or potential 2024 candidates condemned the indictment of Trump, who becomes the first former U.S. president ever to face a criminal charge.
“This is more about revenge than it is about justice,” tweeted former South Carolina Governor and ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who entered the race last month.
Haley posted in her tweet a short video excerpt from a Fox News “Special Report” interview last week in which she questioned Bragg’s motives.
“From everything I have seen from this New York district attorney is that this would be something he’d be doing for political points,” she said in the interview. “And I think what we know is, when you get into political prosecutions like this, it’s more about revenge than it is about justice.”
“And, you know, I think the country would be better off talking about things the American public cares about than sit there and have to deal with some revenge by some political people in New York,” she added.
The only other major declared candidate so far in the 2024 GOP contest, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, called the indictment “politically motivated” and said it “marks a dark moment in American history.”
“This is wrong, this is dangerous,” he said in a video clip. “We’re skating on thin ice as a country right now.”
“You do have a constitutional right to protest this decision if you want to,” Ramaswamy told his viewers. “The only ask I will make is do it peacefully and do it lawfully.”
In a statement, Ramaswamy called on “every current and prospective presidential candidate in both parties to condemn this dangerously politicized prosecution.”
In a separate tweet, he said “the single most valuable thing” President Biden could do to deliver national unity would be to “get on TV tonight & say that even though Trump is his political opponent, he shouldn’t be indicted in a politically motivated prosecution.”
Other senior Republican figures thought to be considering 2024 presidential runs also weighed in.
“I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage,” former Vice President Mike Pence told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“And it appears to millions of Americans to be nothing more than a political prosecution that’s driven by a prosecutor who literally ran for office on a pledge to indict the former president.”
Asked if he thought Trump should be barred from running or should drop out of the race, if he is convicted, Pence replied, “it’s a long way to that decision,” adding that “it’s a possibility that a judge will even throw this case out before we even go to trial.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo focused on Bragg in his reaction, saying the D.A. was “undermining America’s confidence in our legal system.”
“Bragg is the same Soros-funded prosecutor who refuses to prosecute violent crimes and who has downgraded more than half of all felonies to misdemeanors,” he tweeted. “Prosecuting serious crimes keeps Americans safe, but political prosecutions put the American legal system at risk of being viewed as a tool for abuse.”
“This pro-criminal New York DA has failed to uphold the law for violent criminals, yet weaponized the law against political enemies,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). “This is a travesty and it should not be happening in the greatest country on Earth.”
“It is a dark day for America when a former President is indicted on criminal charges,” former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said in a statement. He said it was “essential that the decision on America’s next President be made at the ballot box and not in the court system. Donald Trump should not be the next President, but that should be decided by the voters.”
Hutchinson told CNN earlier this month he will make a decision in April on whether to join the presidential primary race.
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