After former President Donald Trump’s not-so-surprise indictment was reported yesterday evening, national and state elected officials from Florida applauded or denounced the move, largely based on party affiliation.
The most prominent statement came from Gov. Ron DeSantis, a presumptive presidential contender and regular subject of Trump attacks. He called the indictment un-American in a Twitter post, and pledged that the state would not assist in any extradition request, a reverse of a stance he previously took. “Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda,” he wrote.
On Friday, Trump's lawyer said he will surrender to New York authorities but won't consider a plea deal, USA TODAY reported. The former president is set to appear in court there at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.
DeSantis was joined in denouncing the indictment by several Republican members of Congress from Florida.
The most frequent was U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who has made six tweets related to the indictment, including thanking DeSantis for changing his position, a video of his appearance on Fox News about the indictment and heaps of praise on Trump.
“President Donald Trump always fought for us. He puts the American people above corrupt interests. For that reason alone, the powerful will never stop coming for him,” he wrote.
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds and Sen. Marco Rubio also made posts condemning the indictment. Both men attacked Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who charged Trump, calling him soft on crime and a Marxist.
But some members of the Florida Democratic Congressional delegation chimed in, speaking in support of the indictment.
U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz quote-tweeted a New York Times article announcing the indictment, saying it was not a moment to celebrate. “This is a terrible moment for the country. But no one is above the law. Those lock her up chants (referring to Hillary Clinton) that people were chanting like hyenas in a stadium around the country were never funny, perhaps they now understand why.”
U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick criticized Trump for riling up his base amid the indictment and for using the term “Soros-funded prosecutor” to attack Bragg. “I commend District Attorney Bragg for his decision to move forward with this indictment, despite the deluge of Republican backlash, holding Trump accountable for any alleged wrongdoing and ensuring that we all play by the same rules.”
While many national legislators have mentioned the indictment, state legislative leaders from both parties have been silent. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, and House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell have not made any posts about the indictment as of this writing. State Rep. Anna Eskamani, the most prominent progressive in the Florida House, only made a tweet announcing it happened.
The same cannot be said for party leadership. Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler said in a statement that the indictment was a result of the far-left infiltrating American institutions and a sign that they must take all power away from the Democrats.
In another tweet, he wondered why prominent Democrats haven’t been arrested. “Any chance Hunter Biden or Hillary Clinton face indictment today? We all know that answer…” he wrote.
RPOF Vice Chair Evan Power attacked Bragg, and tied it to DeSantis’ removal of suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren. “The Manhattan DA has been desperate to charge President Trump with any crime from the start. The politicization of our criminal justice system is not acceptable. Soros-backed District Attorneys like this one and @AndrewWarrenFL, who was removed by @RonDeSantisFL, are a threat to our democracy,” he wrote.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried quote-tweeted DeSantis’ message about the indictment, attacking his heel turn. “Breaking the law is un-American and blaming it on George Soros is anti-Semitic,” Fried wrote. “And … he doesn’t have the power to deny the extradition. Hallow gestures to kiss up to Trump. Just pathetic."
Some former Florida political candidates also got in on the fun. Former Matt Gaetz challenger and Democratic social media influencer Rebekah Jones also jeered at DeSantis’ reversal. And far-right activist and former Congressional candidate Laura Loomer called the indictment a witch hunt with a Trump campaign-stylized graphic.
Moskowitz later made fun of Loomer’s post: “I guess she is headed to Salem,” he wrote.