NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 04: U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) pushes through the crowd gathered outside the courthouse where former U.S. President Donald Trump will arrive for his arraignment on April 4, 2023 in New York City. With his indictment, Trump will become the first former U.S. president in history to be charged with a criminal offense. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and other state Republicans have rushed to former President Donald Trump’s defense, some of them speaking out before the indictments were unsealed Tuesday afternoon.
Greene and her retinue made their way through a New York City street swarming with photographers, protesters and counter-protesters Tuesday morning, pushing their way to a park bench, where she grabbed a megaphone and proclaimed Trump’s innocence.
Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon to 34 New York state felony offenses related to alleged hush-money payments.
“This is the former president of the United States of America, and the government has been weaponized against him,” she said in remarks that were live-streamed. “I’m here to protest and use my voice to take a stand. Every American should take a stand. This is what happens in communist countries, not the United States of America. We have to take a stand against the injustice, the corruption and the communist Democrats who are taking our legal code, twisting it, manipulating it, and perverting it into something it was never meant to be.”
Greene received some shouts of support from the audience, but parts of her brief speech, organized by the New York Young Republican Club, were drowned out by shouting, whistle blowing and blunt requests for Greene to vacate the city.
Afterwards, in an interview with Right Side Broadcasting Network back inside her van, Greene said she spoke with Trump Monday and he is “completely committed to fighting this injustice.”
Other Georgia Republicans – including congressional representatives Buddy Carter, Rich McCormick, Austin Scott, Andrew Clyde, Barry Loudermilk and Mike Collins – have publicly criticized what they argue is a politically motivated case designed to sideline Trump in the 2024 presidential election.
In a Tuesday letter to his constituents, Clyde called the charges a “sham.”
“Make no mistake — this is all about 2024,” the Athens Republican wrote. “The establishment is terrified that they can’t legally defeat Trump in the upcoming election, so they’re yet again abusing and misapplying the law in a dangerous and desperate attempt to take him down. This brazen political persecution should righteously anger every American, regardless of their political stripes.”
Scott, who is a Tifton Republican, dismissed the indictment as an attempt to embarrass Trump when interviewed Friday on ABC News.
“In America, the government is not supposed to hunt you no matter who you are, and that is exactly what’s happened here,” Scott told ABC.
Scott said he’s personally open to another GOP presidential candidate courting his support next year but said the indictment has made Trump the “absolute nominee for the Republican Party in 2024.”
In an ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted just after news of the indictment broke, 79% of Republicans and 48% of independents said the charges were politically motivated. Only 16% of Democrats felt the same way, with the majority, 64%, saying the charges were not political. In total, 47% of those polled said they believe the charges are driven by politics, 32% said they are not, and 20% were unsure.
But the ABC News poll also suggested Americans are taking the charges seriously. Half of the respondents said they view the indictment as serious, and 45% said Trump should be charged with a crime. Another 32% said the former president should not be charged, and 23% said they were not sure.
Georgia Democrats have remained mostly mum on the indictment news.
New York prosecutors asked for a January trial date. Trump has other legal challenges in the meantime, including a probe from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into whether then-President Trump attempted to illegally interfere with the 2020 election results. She said in January that decisions in the case were “imminent.”
A portion of a Fulton County special grand jury’s report was released in February, stating that a majority of jurors believe at least one of the 75 witnesses perjured themselves while testifying about President Joe Biden’s narrow election win as it met from June to December. The grand jury recommends Willis press charges against those witnesses, but the publicly released version does not say who they are.
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