Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday issued his first response to the potential indictment of former President Donald Trump after keeping quiet over the weekend.
Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, on Saturday, saying that he believed he would be arrested on Tuesday. The arrest would come in connection with the investigation into the former president by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office has long been probing allegations of Trump’s involvement in a 2016 scheme to illegally pay adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair the two allegedly had in 2006. Trump has denied that the affair ever happened, though his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the payment and served time in prison.
DeSantis, who is widely expected to run for president in the 2024 election, broke his silence on the subject during a press conference in Florida on Monday morning. He stressed that he had heard no “facts” about the possible arrest, while also attempting to impugn the legitimacy of Bragg’s investigation.
“I’ve seen rumors swirl, I haven’t seen any facts yet,” DeSantis said. “What I do know is the Manhattan District Attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor, and so he, like other Soros-funded prosecutors, they weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety.”
DeSantis proceeded to echo right-wing talking points about allegedly lax prosecutions in New York City and its crime rate. He also said that he is not interested in being involved in a “manufactured political circus,” in response to a question about whether or not his office would aid in the possible extradition of Trump from Florida to New York.
In his response, DeSantis frequently made reference to European billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is known for his numerous donations to left-wing and Democratic political movements and candidates. Because of this, he is often invoked in right-wing conspiracies painting his influence as malevolent, and due to his Jewish heritage, has often been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracies on the right as well. As many Democrats have, Bragg’s campaign for the office of district attorney received a donation from Soros via the Color of Change PAC, according to the Associated Press.
While DeSantis has yet to formally declare his 2024 candidacy, many observers and insiders expect him to do so this spring. He is considered to be the only major threat to Trump for the Republican nomination, with various polls showing the two neck-and-neck.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s communications team via email for comment.
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