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Asa Hutchinson at the Republican Party of Iowa 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa
Asa Hutchinson at the Republican Party of Iowa 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023. Scott Olson / Getty Images file

Eyes on 2024: Trump’s rivals mostly silent (so far) on indictment

Asa Hutchinson and Vivek Ramaswamy weighed in on the indictment, but other GOP contenders have not yet commented.

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News of Trump’s fourth indictment broke late Monday, so most of Trump’s top rivals for the GOP nomination have not yet weighed in on the Georgia charges.

But there were two exceptions. 

One, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson reiterated his call on Trump to drop out of the race. Hutchinson cited his own experience as a prosecutor who litigated racketeering cases, noting these types of cases can be “slow.”

“Regardless of the specifics of the Georgia indictment, I expect the voters will make the ultimate decision on the future of our democracy,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Over a year ago, I said that Donald Trump’s actions disqualified him from ever serving as President again. Those words are more true today than ever before.” 

Two, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy appeared on a live town hall on NewsNation as the news of Trump’s indictment broke. He noted that he had not read the charges, per NBC News’ Alex Tabet, but said, “The reality is this: These are politicized persecutions through prosecution.”

“The way we do elections in the United States of America is that we the people, you all, get to decide who governs, not the federal police state,” Ramaswamy later added. 

In other campaign news…

DeSantis vs. Disney: DeSantis called on Disney CEO Bob Iger to drop the company’s lawsuit against his administration, telling CNBC that the company is “going to lose” the suit that accuses DeSantis of retaliation against Disney. DeSantis added that he has “basically moved on” from his clash with the company. 

Taking stock: DeSantis also claimed during his CNBC interview that he sold all his stocks before joining the House in 2013. But Roll Call reports that while DeSantis did sell most of his holdings, financial disclosures show that he continued to hold some stock in Sirius XM Holdings Inc. and United States Steel Corp. while he was in Congress. 

Great expectations: The Washington Post delves into DeSantis’ relationship with Florida Republicans, some of whom had lower expectations that the governor would thrive on the campaign trail. 

Trump trial: New York state Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan refused to recuse himself from Trump’s hush money case. Trump’s attorneys had argued that Merchan’s previous role presiding over a Trump organization case, as well as his daughter’s work for a firm tied to Biden’s campaign, disqualified him from the case. 

Caucus clash: The Nevada Republican Party announced Monday that it plans to hold a presidential caucus on Feb. 8, even though state law requires that a primary contest be held on Feb. 6. The announcement comes as the party has been locked in a legal battle with the state over the nominating contest, with the state GOP looking to reinstate the caucus. 

Debt recovery: CNN reports that Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Sam Brown’s PAC largely spent money paying down his campaign debt, despite saying it was raising money to help elect Republicans.

Cold as ice: Politico reports on former Ambassador-turned Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Jeffrey Gunter, who a State Department Inspector General wrote fostered a “threatening and intimidating environment” at the U.S. embassy in Iceland during his tenure.  

Waiting for Mitt: National Journal delves into the Utah Senate race, where GOP Sen. Mitt Romney could face challenges from his right if he decides to run. 

MTG looking OK: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has not yet attracted a notable primary challenger, and the controversial congresswoman appears to be in strong political standing back in her district, Politico reports. 

Leavitt is leaving it: Republican Karoline Leavitt, who ran unsuccessfully for New Hampshire’s 1st District last cycle, announced Monday that she is not running for Congress again, per Axios. Leavitt is currently the spokeswoman for the pro-Trump super PAC MAGA Inc.