Political Leaders Don't Hold Back On Donald Trump's Conviction

On May 30, 2024, former President Donald Trump was found guilty in a Manhattan court on all 34 felony counts relating to hush money payments he allegedly orchestrated ahead of the 2016 election. The charges against Trump allege that he falsified business records in connection to the repayment of his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who was responsible for paying off adult film star Stormy Daniels to the tune of $130,000 so that she would keep quiet about her supposed affair with the then-Republican presidential hopeful.

In what shouldn't come as a shock to anyone, the always-outspoken Trump contested the verdict when speaking to reporters after the trial. "This was a rigged, disgraceful trial," he said, per CNN. The real verdict is going to be November 5, by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here ... We didn't do anything wrong. I'm a very innocent man."

In the aftermath of Trump's conviction, many of his political allies and detractors have similarly chimed in on Judge Juan Merchan's verdict and what it means for the presumptive Republican nominee in the run-up to the 2024 election. Here's what some of them had to say.

Joe Biden's campaign: The only way to keep Trump out of office is to vote

Although neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris has directly commented on Donald Trump's conviction as of this writing, their campaign issued a statement that offered support for the verdict while also stressing that there is only one way to prevent the former real estate magnate and reality television star from returning to the White House — by voting.

"In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law," the statement read, as quoted by Reuters. "Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain. But today's verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president."

On an even more sobering note, the Biden/Harris campaign also warned about the danger of a second Trump term, pointing out that his potential return to the Oval Office will be predicated on revenge against the people who wronged him, and that he may impose an unconstitutional, dictatorial rule. "A second Trump term means chaos, ripping away Americans' freedoms and fomenting political violence – and the American people will reject it this November," their statement concluded.

Jerry Nadler and other Democrats effusively praised the verdict

During his time as House Judiciary Chairman, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler was the driving force behind Donald Trump's two impeachments, and he was highly critical of his perceived role in the January 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  As such, it isn't too surprising that the congressman took to social media and expressed satisfaction that Trump was convicted.

"As I have said from the beginning of this trial, no one is above the law—not even a former President," Nadler wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Donald Trump has now been justly convicted of election interference by a jury of his peers and can no longer escape the consequences of his actions. Our nation will not tolerate his attempts to hide his crimes from voters and subvert our elections."

Other Democratic lawmakers sounded off on the matter, with California Rep. Adam Schiff tweeting that the rule of law emerged victorious. "Despite his efforts to distract, delay, and deny – justice arrived for Donald Trump all the same," he wrote. In a separate post on X, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy made an identical reference to the law prevailing, hinting that Trump's legal problems might be far from over. "Is this crime as serious as the others he committed? No. But the rule of law applies to everyone. And this won't be the last conviction," he tweeted.

Ron DeSantis: The left is out to 'get' Donald Trump

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — a longtime supporter of Donald Trump and former rival in the Republican presidential primaries — was one of the first notable GOP lawmakers to comment publicly on the former president's conviction. In a lengthy statement shared on X, DeSantis blamed what he felt was a left-leaning justice system on the fact Trump was found guilty.

"Today's verdict represents the culmination of a legal process that has been bent to the political will of the actors involved: a leftist prosecutor, a partisan judge and a jury reflective of one of the most liberal enclaves in America—all in an effort to 'get' Donald Trump," DeSantis wrote. The governor also called out the "political debasement" he believes is rampant in places such as New York City and speculated that if it was someone else facing the same charges, they wouldn't have been convicted.

DeSantis concluded his statement by saying that he felt Trump was treated unfairly because of the Manhattan court's political leanings. "In America, the rule of law should be applied in a dispassionate, even-handed manner, not become captive to the political agenda of some kangaroo court," he wrote.

Several other Republican lawmakers proudly stand with Trump

Ron DeSantis was far from the only Republican lawmaker who defended Donald Trump in the immediate aftermath of his conviction. Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who drew flak as a politician when her misconduct at a Denver theater was caught on camera in 2023, took to X, where she said Trump's conviction is another example of how Democrats purportedly employ shady tactics to prevent Trump from serving as president. "The American people see through the Democrat games and know this is a sham verdict," Boebert continued. "We stand with PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP!"

In a statement, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz repeatedly blasted the allegedly corrupt justice process, emphasizing that "We will stand with President Trump now more than ever to save the country." Similarly, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said that the guilty verdict was a desperation move from the left. "Radical leftists & Deepstate Operatives have been orchestrating this SHAM trial from the beginning... What do they do now that President Trump is leading in the polls, and their stunt is failing?" she wrote, also appealing to her fellow Trump supporters and "Patriotic Americans" to stand with the former head of state.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was more subdued in his criticism of the verdict as he expressed optimism that things will work out for the former president. "These charges never should have been brought in the first place," the Kentucky senator wrote. "I expect the conviction to be overturned on appeal."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Trump's case is 'being used to divide us'

Although the 2024 presidential election is shaping up as a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the field has its share of independent candidates, including former President John F. Kennedy's nephew, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. When asked by reporters at an Austin, Texas, cryptocurrency expo about his thoughts on Donald Trump's guilty verdict, Kennedy stressed that the trial is "being used to divide us," as quoted by CNN

That remark aside, Kennedy took a cagey approach when talking about Trump's case, telling reporters that he prefers to discuss matters he feels are more relevant to American voters, such as the economy and health care. "I've been disciplined about not commenting on the court cases and talking about issues that I think are of deep concern to Americans, and not the issues that, you know, are being used to divide us, the culture war issues. I'm not going to comment on it," he said.

Although Kennedy simply chose to focus on the divisive aspects of the Trump trial without delving any deeper, he's been outspoken in the past about his disdain for the former president. In April 2024, he countered Trump's vitriolic comments about him being a "wasted protest vote" by challenging his Republican opponent to a debate and calling him out for his supposed hypocrisy on several hot-button issues during his time in the White House.