Former President Donald Trump’s political rivals weighed in Tuesday on a Manhattan jury’s finding that Trump is liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll in a civil lawsuit brought decades after the alleged abuse took place.
Ohio businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who declared his campaign for president in February, agreed with critics of the lawsuit who believe it’s another politically charged attempt to diminish the GOP presidential frontrunner ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
“I’ll say what everyone else is privately thinking: if the defendant weren’t named Donald Trump, would we be talking about this today, would there even be a lawsuit?” said Ramaswamy, whom Trump praised this week for his climb in the polls.
In a statement, Ramaswamy said he wasn’t on the jury nor privy to all the facts of the case, but based on the “sheer timing of the allegations it seems this is part of the establishment system’s anaphylactic immune response against its chief political virus, Donald Trump. This is just one more antibody.”
Carroll said the alleged assaults occurred in the mid-1980s, though she did not publicly raise the claims until 2019. The criminal statute of limitations had long since lapsed, but the Manhattan jury found Carroll’s accounts believable and awarded her $5 million in damages. The jury rejected a rape claim against Trump.
Former Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump in an interview Tuesday just hours after the jury’s decision was read.
“I would tell you, in my four-and-a-half years serving alongside the president, I never heard or witnessed behavior of that nature,” he said.
Pence, who is mulling a run for president, was in Cincinnati to speak the Center for Christian Virtue.
The Trump campaign called the ruling a “new low,” reiterating that the former president had no relationship with Carroll Trump has said he would appeal, regardless of the outcome.
“The Democratic Party’s never-ending witch-hunt of President Trump hit a new low today. In jurisdictions wholly controlled by the Democratic Party our nation’s justice system is now compromised by extremist left-wing politics. We have allowed false and totally made-up claims from troubled individuals to interfere with our elections, doing great damage,’ the campaign said in a statement.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is prosecuting the former president on multiple counts of fraud tied to hush money paid before the 2016 election to cover up an affair Trump allegedly had with porn star Stormy Daniels. That case, too, was brought long after the statute of limitations expired in what critics say is another round of legal warfare against President Joe Biden’s top political rival.
Conservative talk show host and former candidate for California governor Larry Elder, who recently launched his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, noted the myriad sexual abuse allegations against Biden.
“FLASHBACK) Here are all the times Joe Biden has been accused of acting inappropriately toward women and girls,” Elder tweeted. “8 women have alleged that Biden either touched them inappropriately or violated their personal space in ways that made them uncomfortable.”
(FLASHBACK) Here are all the times Joe Biden has been accused of acting inappropriately toward women and girls
“8 women have alleged that Biden either touched them inappropriately or violated their personal space in ways that made them uncomfortable.”https://t.co/m1zX1AtrRv
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) May 9, 2023
Trump’s closest GOP rival in the polls, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, was silent on the Carroll verdict Tuesday, as was former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. DeSantis is expected to announce his presidential campaign in the coming days; Haley launched hers in February.
Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, who jumped into the Republican presidential nomination chase last month, has long been a Trump critic. His take on the former president was no different following the results of the Carroll case.
“Over the course of my over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, I have seen firsthand how a cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire,” Hutchinson said. “The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump.”
Ramaswamy, acknowledged it would be easier if Trump weren’t in the race.
“But, in this country we don’t weaponize the law or decades old allegations to undercut political opponents. I want to win this race because voters believe I can take the America First movement to the next level,” said the political outsider, who has campaigned on a promise to take the America First agenda further based on “first principles and moral conviction.”
– – –
M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Vivek Ramaswamy” by Vivek Ramaswamy.