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Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., talks with reporters before a procedural vote on the debt limit bill in the Capitol on May 31, 2023.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., in the Capitol on May 31.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

Not all congressional Republicans jump to defend Trump

Ahead of former President Donald Trump's arraignment on federal charges in Miami, some Republicans in Congress are not rushing to defend him.


Although some Republican members of Congress, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, made waves Monday defending former President Donald Trump over his federal indictment, not every Republican lawmaker is quick to shield the former president.

McCarthy told reporters, "A bathroom door locks," when asked about allegations in the indictment that Trump stored classified documents in a bathroom at his Mar-A-Lago resort following his term.

But others, like Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., expressed concern over the indictment and the upcoming trial.

"I would not feel comfortable with a convicted felon in the White House," Buck told CNN on Tuesday.

He added, "Let's look at Donald Trump's words in 2016. He said that [then-Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton was unfit for the White House because of the way she handled classified information ... so I think his words have set the standard."

Similarly, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, told reporters at the Capitol that he would not dismiss or condemn the allegations against Trump.

"It’s very problematic. There’s a reason I’m not, not defending it," Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, added.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the minority whip, expressed concern that Trump could hurt the GOP's electoral prospects, arguing that Trump's indictment could put a drag on down-ballot candidates in the upcoming election cycle.

Thune told reporters at the Capitol, "If you look at the record, in '18, '20 and '22, when [Trump's] the issue, we lose. And so I would rather have the issue be Biden and his policies. And I think the way that you do that is you get a different nominee, which is why I endorsed somebody else."

Thune has previously endorsed South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott's presidential bid.

While there are a few detractors willing to condemn Trump and others are staying mum on the allegations against him, many GOP lawmakers are jumping to his defense.

Plenty of senators and members of Congress have claimed the charges are unfair and have pointed to the classified documents also found in President Joe Biden's house and former office.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R- Mo., told reporters, "I think that what we’re seeing is an unequal application of the law."

Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, refrained from condemning Trump's alleged actions, saying that he would have to watch the process move forward.

But, Tillis added, even the federal indictment might not sink his aspirations to return to the White House.

"Everybody counted him out in 2016 ... So I don’t think you should underestimate Donald J. Trump," Tillis said.