Elected officials, partisans react to Trump guilty verdict

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 492 views 

Predictably, most Arkansas Republican officials and Democratic leaders had split views on the guilty verdict involving former President Donald Trump, the GOP nominee for President in 2024.

Trump was found guilty Thursday (May 30) by a Manhattan district court jury on all 34 counts in the so-called hush money charges brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. The charges related to Trump paying $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election to prevent her from going public with her story. The payments were facilitated by Trump’s then-attorney, Michael Cohen, and were disguised illegally as attorney expenses versus campaign expenses.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders, who served as press secretary to Trump in the White House, said the trial was unfair and that Trump would be elected again in November.

“This is a politically-motivated sham trial. The American people decide our elections. Donald Trump will be our next president,” she said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a critic of Trump who ran in the 2024 GOP Presidential primary, split from most Republicans and urged respect for the verdict.

“It is not easy to see a former President and the presumptive GOP nominee convicted of felony crimes; but the jury verdict should be respected. An appeal is in order but let’s not diminish the significance of this verdict,” he said.

The state’s all-GOP delegation issued statements in support of Trump and decrying the country’s legal system.

“This verdict, like the case itself, is a travesty of justice. The nakedly partisan judge biased the trial at every turn, from allowing an unconstitutional indictment in the first place to excluding key evidence to rigging the jury instructions. The American people will see right through Joe Biden and the Democrats’ weaponization of the legal system,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said on X, formerly known as Twitter, while encouraging donations to the Trump campaign.

“The trial and verdict against President Trump are deeply concerning given the many questions that have been raised about its fairness from the outset, undermining Americans’ confidence in the justice system at a time when we can least afford it,” said Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.

“Most Americans saw this trial of former President Donald Trump for what it was – a political gotcha game and a misuse of the judicial process. Today’s verdict sets a dangerous precedent and harms the faith that Americans have in our justice system,” said U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock.

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Grant Tennille said Arkansas GOP members had lost their bearings of independence and allegiance to American ideals.

“There’s no need for me to comment on the verdict delivered today by a New York jury. It speaks for itself. I am heartsick, however, at the number of Arkansas Republicans who have revealed with their comments this evening that their allegiance to the MAGA movement exceeds their loyalty to our Constitution and the rule of law,” Tennille said.

Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Joseph Wood stood strong with Trump in the wake of the guilty verdict.

“It’s abundantly clear that the process in New York was biased against President Donald J. Trump from Day One. The Republican Party of Arkansas stands with President Trump. As he said today, ‘the real verdict will be November 5th by the people,’” Wood said.

Other notable statements included:

“I am saddened that our nation had to go through this trial. The prosecution inflated a charge for a misdemeanor crime – failing to accurately report expenses – for which the statute of limitations had expired, into a federal election crime for purely political purposes. The prosecution wouldn’t have done this had the target not been former President Trump. Justice in America is supposed to be blind. Everyone should be treated equally under the law. I doubt that any other individual who had failed to report business expenses in the appropriate manner would have been put through this type of trial.” – U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro.

“Rep. French Hill has sold out to right-wing extremism. Hill’s support for convicted felon Donald Trump reinforces what we already knew: Hill is in Congress to serve the extreme MAGA agenda, not the people of Arkansas’s Second District. We should be focused on the issues working people face, not on the criminal convictions of the Republican party‘s nominee for President.” – Marcus Jones, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, District 2.

“Sad day for justice. For America. Joe Biden has successfully broken America. More than ever, @realDonaldTrump must be re-elected. We can’t have a government that targets political opponents in court. God help us!” – Former GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee.