Faced with a devastating jury verdict condemning GOP 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump as a sexual abuser, fellow Republicans running for president weren’t just hesitant to attack Trump—they largely sided with him.
Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and longshot presidential candidate, echoed Trump’s excuse that the federal court case in New York City was nothing more than a political show trial.
“This seems like just another part of the establishment’s anaphylactic response against its chief political allergen: Donald Trump,” he said.
Another longshot presidential candidate, right-wing political talk radio host Larry Elder, delivered a pithy remark dismissing the verdict against Trump by comparing it to sexual assault allegations against President Joe Biden.
“Was Tara Reade available for comment?” Elder tweeted, referencing a former staffer in Biden’s office when he was in the Senate.
Reade came out in 2020 with allegations that Biden had sexually assaulted her at a Capitol Hill office building in 1993. But the AP refused to run a story about it after allegedly discovering inconsistencies in her story.
While most prospective candidates were silent—Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, and Chris Sununu, all didn’t immediately issue statements, among the rest of the field—one Republican longshot did issue some light criticism.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who was previously a U.S. Attorney there, said that over the course of his over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, “I have seen firsthand how a cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire,” Hutchinson said, adding that the jury came to a decision on Trump’s “indefensible behavior.”
Tuesday was a historic moment, as Trump became the first ever former American president to be held liable in court for sexual abuse. Jurors ended a two-week trial by deliberating for a mere three hours before concluding that Trump in 1996 sexually attacked the journalist E. Jean Carroll in the fitting room of a Manhattan department store.
But most Republicans were far from willing to criticize their once, current and future standard bearer.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) went on Fox News to chalk the entire case up to just another shot at his party’s top candidate.
“This has been going on for years. And he has been amazing in his ability to weather these sorts of attacks and the American public has been amazing in their support for him,” said Hagerty, who also acquitted Trump during his 2021 Senate impeachment for sparking an attack on the very Congress where he serves.
While most Republicans hadn’t spoken at all about the verdict, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, shrugged off the verdict and told Fox News viewers that suburban moms like her are more concerned about the way Biden is handling the U.S. economy.
“I think a lot of women are incredibly disappointed with the Biden administration, so they’ll be looking at the Republican nominee, whoever that is,” McDaniel said.
Meanwhile, Carroll issued a statement Tuesday night saying she filed the lawsuit against Trump to “clear my name and to get my life back.”
“Today, the world finally knows the truth. This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed,” she said. “I would like to express my deep and lasting gratitude to all those who have stood by me from the start, especially my incredible and fearless legal team, led by Robbie Kaplan, who never, ever backed down in pursuit of truth and justice.”