HomePoliticsTrump allies pressure DeSantis to weigh in on expected impeachment

Trump allies pressure DeSantis to weigh in on expected impeachment

Former President Donald J. Trump’s political operation is trying to use the news of his expected indictment by a Manhattan grand jury to turn the strident GOP base against his expected rival for the 2024 presidential nomination, the Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Immediately after the former president predicted Saturday that his arrest was imminentTrump operatives and friendly media outlets began publicly pressing DeSantis to convict law enforcement officials in New York, presenting his silence on the matter as bordering on treason.

Jason Miller, senior adviser to the former president, saying on Twitter that Trump’s team was taking note of Mr. DeSantis’ “radio silence” on the possible impeachment.

And the “War Room” account of the Trump campaign aware on Sunday: “More than 24 hours have passed and some people are still calm. History will judge their silence.”

Trump’s most influential online allies spread the message quickly and deep into right-wing online networks. Jack Posobiec, a far-right political activist with a large following on social media, was especially vocal in the lobbying campaign.

“I take receipts from everyone,” Posobiec said in a brief interview. “So that DeSantis made that post yesterdaytalking about the response to Hurricane Ian and nothing about the personal account about the arrest: it was a message that was received”.

An aide to Mr. DeSantis did not respond to a request for comment.

The effort anticipates how an impeachment would shake up the still-fledgling race for the Republican presidential nomination, and perhaps already has. Mr. Trump has used the possibility of charges, which would stem from an investigation into Hush money Trump’s lawyer paid a porn actress before being elected in 2016, to present himself as a victim of political persecution.

Although his rivals largely want to keep their distance, the Trump team is hell-bent on pressuring them to choose sides, risking the wrath of Republicans loyal to the former president.

The former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., amplified The message from Mr. Posobiec, who writes: “Pay attention to which Republicans spoke out against this corrupt BS right away and which ones just sat idly by and waited to see which way the wind would blow.”

And the Gateway Pundit, a conspiracy website with many far-right followers that often pushes narratives useful to Trump, declared “The silence is deafening” in its headline about DeSantis’ dodging of the issue.

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But even as many leading Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have rallied to Trump’s aid, comments from the field by the GOP’s declared and potential presidential candidates have been muted.

Some, including Vivek Ramaswamy and former Vice President Mike Pence, have denounced the possibility of an impeachment based on what would be a novel legal theory.

“I called on my fellow Republican candidates @RonDeSantisFL and @NikkiHaley to join me in condemning the potential impeachment of Trump because those of us *running against Trump* can more credibly call on the Manhattan DA to drop this disastrously disastrous prosecution. politicized,” Ramaswamy said. he wrote in a message on Twitter.

Nikki Haley, a former United Nations ambassador and governor of South Carolina who entered the presidential race last month, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina have not said a word.

But Mr. DeSantis’s silence is more charged.

He is the governor of the state where Trump resides, which, should Trump be impeached and refuse to surrender, could lead to DeSantis playing a role in New York’s efforts to extradite the former president.

As a purely political matter, DeSantis is Trump’s closest rival in all Republican public opinion polls for the 2024 presidential primaries. He is expected to announce his intentions in May or June. But his hopes depend on attracting a coalition of voters that includes both supporters and critics of Trump.

And Trump allies believe that if DeSantis refuses to condemn an ​​expected indictment, one that even some of Trump’s fiercest critics have disputed, it could hamper DeSantis’ efforts to alienate Trump supporters.

Among the Republicans who have used the news of the early impeachment to show their allegiance to Trump are House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senator JD Vance of Ohio and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

Few jumped at the opportunity quicker than Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking House Republican widely seen as seeking election as Trump’s running mate.

By noon on Saturday, Ms. Stefanik had issued a statement calling the expected indictment “anti-American” and an example of the “radical left” reaching “a new dangerous low for Third World countries.”

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