Reaction varies to unprecedented indictment of former president

Reaction to former President Donald Trump's indictment on Thursday was across the board, with many viewing it as unprecedented for a host of reasons. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Reaction to former President Donald Trump's indictment on Thursday was across the board, with many viewing it as unprecedented for a host of reasons. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- As reaction spread after former President Donald was indicted Thursday, one word was used repeatedly by many to describe the news: "unprecedented."

Trump was indicted by a grand jury in New York City, which found that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has enough evidence to charge the former president with a crime for alleged hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.


Former Vice President Mike Pence told CNN after the indictment that "no one is above the law, including former presidents."

"I really do believe that this decision today is a great disservice to the country," Pence said.

"The idea that, for the first time in American history, a former president would be indicted on a campaign finance issue to me, it just smacks of political prosecution, and I think the overwhelming majority of the American people will see it that way."


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that Trump is "subject to the same laws as every American."

"He will be able to avail himself of the legal system and a jury, not politics, to determine his fate according to the facts and the law," Schumer said.

Schumer added called for "no outside political influence, intimidation or interference" in Trump's case.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who twice oversaw the impeachment of Trump, said in a statement that the grand jury "acted upon the facts and the law."

"No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence," Pelosi said.

The former Democratic leader also urged Trump to "peacefully respect the system" which "grants him that right."

"The indictment of a former president is unprecedented. But so, too, is the unlawful conduct in which Trump has been engaged," tweeted Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.

Schiff, who served as the lead impeachment manager during Trump's first impeachment trial, added that "a nation of laws must hold the rich and powerful accountable, even when they hold high office."

And Rep. Elise Stefanik also used the adjective "unprecedented" in describing the case but for decidedly different reasons for the New York Republican and Trump supporter.


Stefanik called the indictment "unprecedented" as she blasted Bragg as "corrupt" and a "socialist" in a statement, without providing evidence of corruption.

"The unprecedented election interference from corrupt socialist District Attorney Alvin Bragg is a political witch-hunt and a dark day for America," Stefanik said.

"The radical far-left will stop at nothing to persecute Joe Biden's chief political opponent ahead of the 2024 presidential election to suppress the will and voice of the American people," Stefanik said. Bragg's investigation began well before Trump formally announced that he would run again in the 2024 presidential election.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also used the word, too, though in relation to the district attorney instead of the historic charges against the former president.

McCarthy said Bragg has "irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our presidential election" adding that he and House Republicans "will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account."

Other reactions from lawmakers varied, from some who saw the event as historical and others who viewed it as a "sham."

Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who served on the Jan. 6 committee, called the indictment a "somber day for America."


"It's also a time to put faith in our judicial system. Donald Trump deserves every protection provided to him by the Constitution and due process under our rule of law," Swalwell said.

"As this case progresses, let us neither celebrate nor destroy. As the former president continues to call for violence in his name, let all of us, as Democrats and Republicans, condemn his efforts to incite."

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, simply called the indictment "outrageous." He has been a firm ally of the former president and chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise took to Twitter and said, "The sham New York indictment of President Donald Trump is one of the clearest examples of extremist Democrats weaponizing government to attack their political opponents. Outrageous."

Trump's adult children stood by their father, equating the handing up of the indictment to behavior that would make dictators such as Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot "blush."

"Just wait until they come for you, because they will," Donald J. Trump, Jr., said in a Thursday episode of his podcast "Triggered."


"This is third world prosecutorial misconduct," Eric Trump, the former president's other adult son, tweeted. "It is the opportunistic targeting of a political opponent in a campaign year."

And former Trump attorney Michael Cohen -- who allegedly made the payment in question to Daniels on Trump's behalf -- responded to the indictment by reminding everyone that, even in unprecedented legal cases, the accused are innocent until proven guilty.

"I take no pride in issuing this statement and wish to also remind everyone of the presumption of innocence; as provided by the due process clause," Cohen said in a statement to The New York Times.

"However, I do take solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former president. Today's indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather, just the beginning."

Latest Headlines