The Margin: Trump indictment draws ‘lock him up’ cheers and ‘it is un-American’ jeers online
The historic indictment of former President Donald Trump got fingers flying across keyboards on Thursday night, as leading Democrats and Republicans, legal experts and other notables hit social media to respond to a former POTUS facing criminal charges for the first time ever.
The specific charges remained sealed as of publication time, but Trump responded with a statement calling the indictment “political persecution” and the result of a “witch hunt.”
Read more: Donald Trump indicted in Stormy Daniels case — first former U.S. president to ever be criminally charged
And: Why was Trump indicted? And who is Stormy Daniels, again?
He also accused Democrats of “weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent,” which was a refrain picked up by many Republicans. This includes House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has been investigating Trump’s possible involvement in hush money payments to a porn star and a Playboy model, of abusing his power.
Also in the “weaponizing our Justice Department” camp were Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, one of Trump’s potential primary rivals for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, who called the indictment “un-American” on Twitter.
GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said more of the same, and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan called the Trump indictment “outrageous.”
Eric Trump, the former president’s son, tweeted that this was “prosecutorial misconduct.”
But Mary Trump, the former president’s niece who has been a vocal critic of her executive uncle, had a pretty pithy tweet. “I think it’s time to say ‘Uncle,’” she wrote.
The indictment also spurred some celebratory reactions from Trump critics online, however, leading hashtags such as #LockHimUp to trend on Twitter.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, tweeted that while the indictment of a former president is “unprecedented,” so was Trump’s alleged “unlawful conduct.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., echoed that sentiment, adding: “This is a somber moment for America. We should let the judicial system do its job without interference.”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted: “No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence. Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.”
Democratic New York Rep. Dan Goldman, who served as lead counsel in the first impeachment trial of Trump, gave a statement saying that “no person is above the law.” He said that elected officials on both sides should “make unequivocally clear that there is no room for political violence or interference.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a former federal prosecutor, said the justice system has an obligation to pursue the facts and law wherever they lead. “Former President Trump will have the same rights as any criminal defendant and the justice system will presume him innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated men from the Central Park 5 wrongly accused of brutally raping a woman in the 1980s, noted in a statement shared on Twitter that Trump has never apologized for taking out a full page ad in the New York Times calling for the death penalty for Salaam and the other young men — who were teenagers at the time.
“Karma,” he wrote.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, also recalling Trump’s treatment of Salaam and the now “Exonerated 5,” released a statement saying “What goes around comes around.”
Bestselling horror author Stephen King also repeated the “Karma” call.
But the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, one of the two women who received the hush money at the center of the indictment investigation, tweeted that this actually wasn’t a cause for celebration.
“The hard work and conscientiousness of the grand jurors must be respected,” he said. “Now let truth and justice prevail.”
Associated Press reporting contributed to this article.
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