Former President Donald Trump has already had two sets of criminal charges levied against him, and even more could be on the way.
Yet, some of his fellow GOP presidential candidates came to his defense over the weekend, downplaying the seriousness of the legal troubles that he faces.
On Sunday, Mike Pence – Trump’s former vice president who had a falling out with his boss near the end of the administration – said yet another criminal indictment of Trump would “only contribute” to the feelings that many Americans have about the Department of Justice, which he said has “lost the confidence” of American citizens.
Appearing on the State of the Union program on CNN on Sunday, Pence said:
“I do think that the Department of Justice has lost the confidence of the American people. I’ve said many times that the president’s words (around the time of the 2020 presidential election) were reckless, that I had no right to overturn the election. But, while his words were reckless, based on what I know, I’m not yet convinced they were criminal.”
Pence isn’t the only GOP hopeful who has shared similar sentiments. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy said recently that Trump didn’t display great judgment in how he handled the Capitol insurrection, but he didn’t commit a crime while doing so.
As he explained:
“I’ve been consistent all along that I would have made different judgments than Donald Trump made. That is why I am running in this race for the presidency, the same race that he’s in, because I would have made different – and I believe better – judgments for the country.
“But, a bad judgment is not the same thing as a crime. And when we conflate the two, that sets dangerous precedent for this country.”
The Biden administration – and even some individual states – certainly seems like it is determined to take Trump down at all costs, pursuing multiple criminal cases against him. The challenge, of course, is that Trump has the resources and the stomach for fighting all of these charges legally, which will certainly drag out the timeline of the cases.
In the meantime, instead of putting a stop to Trump, all of these entities that are trying to take Trump down are actually giving him a lot of attention – free press, if you will, as he’s running for president.
Larry Hogan, the former Republican governor of Maryland, said as much over the weekend. He pointed out that none of the other GOP hopefuls in the crowded field has been able to chip away at the commanding lead that Trump currently has in polls because so much of the focus is on the legal troubles that Trump is facing.
Even though he’s a fellow Republican, Hogan is an outspoken critic of Trump.
While appearing on the “Inside with Jen Psaki” program on MSNBC, Hogan said:
“The fact that nobody else can get any traction or attention because all we’re talking about is Donald Trump’s legal troubles. While people haven’t left Trump as quickly as I would have hoped, there about half of the people in the Republican primary who do not want Donald Trump.
“They just can’t decide on which of the other 11 candidates they want to support because they aren’t … getting much oxygen or airtime.”