Former President Donald Trump was criminally charged by a grand jury Tuesday in connection to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, marking his third criminal indictment.
Shortly after the charges were announced, comments on the historic moment began spreading across social media and in press releases, including from the leader who was once Trump's political partner, former Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence, who testified in front of the grand jury, said in a statement the charges are a reminder that "anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States."
"On January 6th, Former President Trump demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. I chose the Constitution and I always will," he said in the statement.
The indictment lists multiple instances in which Trump attempted to have Pence help in obstructing the presidential election, saying Trump and his co-conspirators attempted to enlist Pence to "use his ceremonial role at the January 6 certification proceeding to fraudulently alter the election results" and notes multiple failed attempts to convince the former vice president.
Though recent polls show Trump remains the Republican front runner in the 2024 presidential race, Pence and other hopefuls seemed to use the moment to push their campaign points.
After saying the former president is entitled to a presumption of innocence, Pence noted the negative mark this leaves on Trump's candidacy, saying it creates "less attention paid" to President Joe Biden's "disastrous" policies.
And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another Republican presidential hopeful, mentioned his run alongside a mention of the indictment in a post on the social network X.
"While I've seen reports, I have not read the indictment. I do, though, believe we need to enact reforms so that Americans have the right to remove cases from Washington, DC to their home districts," the post read. "Washington, DC is a 'swamp' and it is unfair to have to stand trial before a jury that is reflective of the swamp mentality."
As President, I will end the weaponization of government, replace the FBI Director, and ensure a single standard of justice for all Americans.
While I’ve seen reports, I have not read the indictment. I do, though, believe we need to enact reforms so that Americans have the right…
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) August 1, 2023
Shortly after the indictment, another 2024 Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, announced he filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for allegedly failing to respond to his Freedom of Information Act request to share information about what he alleges was communication with President Biden and officials in charge of the indictment investigation, including Jack Smith who led the grand jury investigation.
"My aim in bringing this lawsuit is to finally deliver accountability and transparency: What did Biden and his cronies tell Garland and what did Garland and the deep-staters who put him in as attorney general tell Jack Smith. That’s the real target. These indictments selectively omit relevant facts and law — this is shameful," Ramaswamy said.
This sentiment was echoed by Trump and his campaign shortly before the indictment was officially released.
In a Truth social post, Trump said a "Deranged Jack Smith" spearheaded the indictment to interrupt his presidential run, and in a statement, his campaign said the "witch hunt" was a point of "election interference."
Although the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee posted about "election interference," the other side of the aisle commended the federal grand jury's decision in the Jan. 6 investigation.
In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries noted the indictment was an illustration of how the former president defied democracy with the "months-long criminal plot" that ended in the insurrection.
"This indictment is the most serious and most consequential thus far and will stand as a stark reminder to generations of Americans that no one, including a president of the United States, is above the law. The legal process must continue to move forward without any outside interference," the statement read.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who spoke during the two impeachments of Trump's presidency, noted Trump's innocence until proven guilty while commending the work that led to this step in Trump's case.
"Through the meticulous and patriotic work of the bipartisan Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack, evidence was uncovered about the sinister plot to overturn the presidential election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power," she said in a statement. "As this case proceeds through the courts, justice must be done according to the facts and the law."
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com