Florida Republicans condemn Trump national security indictment

By: - June 9, 2023 5:09 pm

A great egret stands near former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Feb. 11, 2022 in Palm Beach. Published reports indicate that possible classified material was among documents recovered by the National Archives in January from the Mar-a-Lago home. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida’s Republican establishment raced to the defense of former President Donald Trump following his indictment this week, with Gov. Ron DeSantis denouncing “an uneven application of the law depending on political affiliation.”

“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation,” DeSantis wrote in a tweet posted Thursday night regarding Trump, a former patron turned political rival.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at the Feenstra Family Picnic on May 13, 2023. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

“Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter? The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all,” wrote the governor.

Nikki Fried, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, didn’t comment directly but retweeted a post by Andrew Warren, ousted by DeSantis in August as state’s attorney for Hillsborough County.

“Says the governor who sent armed deputies to remove a duly elected prosecutor in a shameless political stunt that a federal court concluded broke federal & state law,” Warren posted, citing the governor’s tweet. “‘Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.’ (That means you know you’re guilty of what you criticize.),” Warren added.

Other elected Republicans posted sentiments similar to the governor’s after Trump announced Thursday that he had been indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

“@RonDeSantis is right. A government must first and foremost protect its citizens. Instead, the Biden regime is using federal law enforcement to go after political opposition. This is a corrupt and intentional misuse of power that threatens the rule of law,” Lt. Gov. Janette Nunez echoed.

‘No limit’

“There is no limit to what these people will do to protect their power & destroy those who threaten it, even if it means ripping our country apart & shredding public faith in the institutions that hold our republic together,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott noted that President Joe Biden also stored classified documents in unsecured areas.

“Joe Biden says he did nothing wrong after classified documents were found in his garage. Yet his DOJ indicted former President Trump for doing the exact same thing. You can’t get more corrupt than that,” Scott wrote.

Former Vice President Mike Pence found similar documents, too. But Scott didn’t mention that, unlike Trump, Biden and Pence notified authorities and returned the documents. A special counsel is looking into the Biden matter and authorities plan no action against Pence, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Jimmy Patronis: Source: his Facebook page

“They’re ripping this country apart and they know it. He’s a former President for God sakes… beloved by tens of millions of Americans. He faced ALL the scrutiny while corrupt FBI officials are on MSNBC and CNN. Meanwhile, the Biden family was making millions selling out America,” Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, wrote on his Twitter feed.

State Attorney General Ashley Moody said on Fox News that the indictment “shatters the appearance of integrity, the apolitical nature, equal application of the rule of law in this nation. That is what we are founded on. That is a pillar of a government by the people and it is shocking that this is coming in a nation as great as ours that has a history of fairness within our institutions,” Moody said, noting that she’s a former federal prosecutor, herself.

‘Security risk’

Meanwhile, state House Democrat Anna Eskamani of Orange County noted on her Twitter feed that the unsealed indictment alleges that Trump twice shared classified material related to “a military operation” with unauthorized persons.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani. Credit: Colin Hackley

“Trump has and always will be a security risk. His ego is just too big to manage anything else,” Eskamani wrote.

“Fundamental to our democracy is that no one – even a former president – is above our laws. Neither fear nor standing must blind the pursuit of justice,” Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted.

“Every craven Republican, including DeSantis, who went out on a limb to defend Trump is now on record supporting espionage against the United States, our military, and intelligence assets. They’re undermining our democracy — in more ways than one,” state Sen. Lori Berman wrote.

Regarding the GOP references to Hunter Biden, Republicans on the U.S. House Oversight and Accountability Committee have alleged that Biden family members, not including Joe Biden, received millions from foreign nationals funneled through other entities, some of which coincided with Joe Biden’s time as vice president that ended in January 2017. But they’ve been light on hard evidence.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.