With former President Donald Trump still the leading 2024 GOP contender for the White House, members of his party have flocked behind him, calling the federal charges in relation to the classified documents probe a political ploy.
But a handful of Republicans have broken with the party norm to call out the seriousness of Trump’s alleged crimes.
Trump’s former secretary of state took issue with how Trump’s alleged mishandling of secret documents put service members at risk.
“Trump had classified docs when he shouldn’t have had them, and when given the opportunity to return them he chose not to do that,” he told Fox News. “That’s inconsistent with protecting America’s soldiers...some of these were pretty serious, important docs.”
Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who had a fallout with Trump after refusing to help him overturn the 2020 election, said that Trump was “toast” if the allegations detailed in the indictment were true.
“If even half of it is true, then he’s toast,” Barr said on Fox News. “I mean, it’s a very detailed indictment, and it’s very, very damning. This idea of presenting Trump as a victim here — a victim of a witch hunt — is ridiculous.”
2024 hopeful and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley previously framed the indictment as politically motivated, but adopted a harsher tone after it was unsealed, calling Trump’s alleged actions “incredibly reckless.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is also in the 2024 GOP pool, called Trump’s alleged behavior ”inexcusable.”
“It is a very tight, very evidence-laden indictment,” Christie told CNN during a town hall. “The conduct in there is awful.”
Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson is so far the only 2024 GOP candidate to explicitly call on Trump to drop out from the race, slamming the former president for ”willful disrespect for the Constitution and disrespect for the rule of law.”
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who has been historically critical of Trump, said he believes the Justice Department acted appropriately in prosecuting Trump.
“Mr. Trump brought these charges upon himself by not only taking classified documents, but by refusing to simply return them when given numerous opportunities to do so,” he said in a statement.
Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado said he wouldn’t “support a convicted felon” in the White House.
“He said that Hillary Clinton was unfit for the White House ... I think his words have set the standard that America will look at,” Buck told CNN. “I would not feel comfortable with a convicted felon in the White House.”