The political world is buzzing about a potential Trump indictment — so it’s worth keeping track of how his current and potential GOP presidential rivals are responding as they try to win supporters in a party that’s been remade in Trump’s image
Former Vice President Mike Pence told ABC News that it would be “a politically charged prosecution” if the Manhattan district attorney’s office goes through with an indictment.
New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu told CNN that potential charges are “building a lot of sympathy for the former president.” Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie echoed a similar line, told ABC that Trump “only profits and does well in chaos and turmoil.”
And businessman Vivek Ramaswamy used the news to defend Trump and argue that the “silence from the rest of the GOP field is deafening.”
It’s that last point that’s worth underlining. As supporters and elected GOP officials rally to Trump’s defense, the non-responses from the likes of Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Ambassador Nikki Haley are notable.
And it’s something that Trump’s allies are certainly agitating about — his super PAC sent out an email this Sunday saying that “conservatives are paying attention to who is staying silent right now.” And the New York Times reports key Trump allies are leaning on DeSantis specifically to speak up.
(UPDATE 10:45a.m.): On Monday morning, DeSantis addressed the story in response to a question from a reporter.
“If you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction and he chooses to go back many, many years ago to use something about porn star hush money payments, that's an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office," DeSantis said.
"I have no interest in getting involved in some sort of manufactured circus by some Soros DA," he added, invoking Democratic donor George Soros, who donated to a group that supported Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's election.
In other campaign news…
Midwest roots: NBC News’ Henry Gomez dove deep into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ family roots among the former steel mills in Ohio.
More on DeSantis at Guantanamo: The latest story about DeSantis’ time serving at the Guantanamo Bay detention center from the Washington Post reports on how the future governor advised on force-feeding detainees who were on a hunger strike.
Trump to Texas: The Trump campaign announced on Friday that the former president will hold his first rally of the 2024 campaign on Saturday in Waco, Texas.
Push to the right: Groups that oppose abortion rights are planning to pressure GOP presidential candidates to back federal restrictions on abortion, per the Washington Post.
Florida men: NBC News’ Scott Wong and Ali Vitali report on how Trump and DeSantis are looming over the House GOP’s retreat in Orlando this week.
Haley’s historic bid: The Washington Post reports on how Haley is “seeking to accentuate her differences from White male candidates and offer reassurances that they are not impediments.”
Buckeye State buzz: Ohio could once again play host to a contested GOP Senate primary, with Republican businessman Bernie Moreno, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and Rep. Warren Davidson weighing challenges against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, per NBC News’ Henry J. Gomez. Moreno and state Sen. Matt Dolan, who jumped in the race in January, also ran unsuccessfully for Senate last year.
Top Chicago Democrat chooses a side: Democratic Rep. Chuy García endorsed Brandon Johnson in the city’s mayoral runoff, as the Wall Street Journal reports on how both candidates are trying to win over the city’s Hispanic voters.
On the airwaves: Conservative Justice Daniel Kelly’s campaign for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is out with its first campaign ad of the general election, featuring law enforcement officials from around the state pledging their support for Kelly. So far, the campaign has spent $54,000 to air the ad, but it has reserved over $100,000 of additional airtime through Election Day, April 4, per AdImpact.
Targeting vulnerable House Democrats: The American Action Network (AAN), a conservative group, is out with TV ads in 12 House districts across the U.S., urging voters to voice their support for H.R. 1, according to a release. H.R. 1 is a signature GOP bill that would restrict states’ ability to block certain projects, like pipelines, and would cut down the time to approve certain energy and mining projects, among other proposals.