With a few notable exceptions, Ohio Republicans have publicly condemned the unprecedented indictment of Donald Trump handed down by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Thursday, March 30. This is the first time in American history a former president has ever been criminally charged.
A New York grand jury voted to indict Trump on unspecified criminal charges. The grand jury had been investigating a hush money payment that Trump’s attorney made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election after she claimed she had an affair with him.
Many legal experts have said the falsifying business records case, typically a misdemeanor in New York, is weak at best, particularly because partisan Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, has insisted on elevating the charge to a felony.
Trump denied the charges and accused Democrats of “weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent.” He previously said he wouldn’t exit the 2024 presidential race if indicted.
Immediately after the news surfaced on Thursday night, Ohio political leaders began to weigh in. Notable exceptions include Mike DeWine (R, Ohio Governor), John Husted (R, Ohio Lt. Governor), Dave Yost (R, Ohio Attorney General), Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R, Ohio’s 2nd District) and Rep. Mike Turner (R, Ohio’s 10th District).
Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy weighs in
Ohio entrepreneur and GOP Presidential Challenger Vivek Ramaswamy tweeted: “The politically motivated indictment of the 45th President of the United States marks a dark moment in American history. It will undermine public trust in our electoral system & justice system. It is un-American for the ruling party to use police power to arrest its political rivals. Principles go beyond partisanship. Let the American people decide who governs.”
Ohio Congressional Members weigh in
Ohio Republican Congressional members who made public comments on the indictment as of the afternoon of March 31st are provided below. Since that time Rep. Bob Latta and Rep. Dave Joyce have also commented publicly. Notably absent from this list at the time of publication are Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R, Ohio’s 2nd District) and Rep. Mike Turner (R, Ohio’s 10th District).
Sen. JD Vance (R): “Today’s indictment of President Trump is political persecution masquerading as law. Donald Trump is the former President of the United States, the leader of our nation’s political opposition, and the presumptive Republican nominee in 2024. Alvin Bragg’s decision to indict him is blatant election interference and a direct assault on the tens of millions of Americans who support him. To make matters worse, this entire charade is predicated on an unprecedented, doomed-to-fail legal theory and a baseless misdemeanor charge from seven years ago. While the radical left continues their obsession with harassing Donald Trump, the American people are suffering. Families are struggling to put food on the table, violent crime is running rampant in our cities, and thousands have been poisoned by the fentanyl pouring across our southern border. Instead of working to improve the lives of the Americans they are supposed to represent, the ruling party is focused on kneecapping their greatest threat in the next election. The American people will see this for exactly what it is: a grave miscarriage of justice.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R, Ohio’s 4th District): Tweeted “Outrageous.”
Rep. Bill Johnson (R, Ohio’s 6th District): “The Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, rode into office stating he would not prosecute many non-violent crimes…the skyrocketing violence on New York City’s streets is the predictable result. Now, and obviously for political purposes, he is doing the opposite – bumping up what would be a misdemeanor into a felony charge. In America, no one should be above the law. However, the prosecution of a former President who is again a candidate is a blatantly political move and must be done only with extreme caution. Keep in mind that even federal prosecutors refused to bring this case to court. There are real consequences to choosing to prosecute a serious presidential candidate – especially given the partisan political smell coming from Mr. Bragg’s office.”
Rep. Max Miller (R, Ohio’s 7th District): “The American people should see this indictment for what it truly is: A politically motivated prosecution by a DA who is pursuing Donald Trump for political reasons.”
Rep. Warren Davidson (R, Ohio’s 8th District): “#StayFocused The @HouseGOP created a committee on weaponization of government for a reason. Time for #DeedsNotWords.”
Rep. Troy Balderson (R, Ohio’s 12th District): “The American people are sick and tired of the political weaponization of the justice system in this country. It erodes trust in our institutions and is a distraction from the very real crime crisis wreaking havoc across America. This latest development is yet another example of Democrat politicians undermining our democracy.”
Rep. Mike Carey (R, Ohio’s 15th District): “New York City’s crime rate increases every year, yet their corrupt District Attorney Alvin Bragg believes his time is best spent on a political witch hunt against President Trump. He’s making a mockery of our legal system. The people of NYC deserve better and the American voters deserve better.”
Rep. Bob Latta (R, Ohio’s 5th District): “The indictment of a former President of the United States is an unprecedented and serious matter, and the American people deserve answers on the indictment. The sealed indictment – if based on the case that was dismissed by federal prosecutors seven years ago – is suspicious and seemingly politically motivated. I will be following this situation closely as it unfolds.”
Rep. Dave Joyce (R, Ohio’s 14th District): “As a former prosecutor I have faith in the US legal system but have concerns about partisan District Attorneys pursuing enforcement action for political purposes. I will be watching the legal process for the former President closely.”
Potential Ohio U.S. Senate candidates weigh in
State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, who announced his bid for the GOP nomination in January, stated: “There is little doubt that the actions taken today in New York are politically motivated. Let there be no mistake, Democrats and the media want to make 2024 about nothing more than endless investigations and show trials. We need a Republican nominee that will defeat Sherrod Brown, not someone who willfully plays into his hands. My focus is on offering solutions to the challenges confronting Ohio. Period. That’s how I best serve my constituents and how I will beat Sherrod Brown, so we can get to work on reducing inflation, countering rising threats posed by China, securing the border and restoring trust in the rule of law.”
Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno, who is considered a potential candidate, tweeted: “My family came here from South America – A place where the ruling regime’s political opponents are routinely jailed – What Bragg is doing to Trump is no different than what happens in those Banana Republics. Every Republican needs to loudly & unequivocally speak out against it.”
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a likely Senate candidate, commented: “Record-setting crime wave tearing Manhattan apart, but this is the DA’s focus? What a joke. This is what happens when liberal activists take over the mechanisms we use to deliver justice. America is fed up.”
Awaiting public comment on the case from:
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R, Ohio’s 2nd District)
Rep. Mike Turner (R, Ohio’s 10th District):
Mike DeWine (R, Ohio Governor)
John Husted (R, Ohio Lt. Governor)
Dave Yost (R, Ohio Attorney General)