Mar 20, 2023
DeSantis Jabs Trump Over Potential NY Hush-Money Indictment
(Bloomberg) -- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis jabbed at Donald Trump over his potential indictment by the Manhattan district attorney, even as he accused prosecutors of political bias.
DeSantis, who is widely expected to seek the Republican presidential nomination, was asked Monday about the investigation into a hush-money payment Trump allegedly made to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public before the 2016 election about a claimed decade-old sexual encounter.
“Look, I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair, I can’t speak to that,” DeSantis said to laughter at a press conference in Florida. “But what I can speak to is that if you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction, and he chooses to go back many, many years ago to try to use something about porn star hush money payments, that’s an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office.”
“I think that that’s fundamentally wrong,” the governor added.
Trump on social media Saturday said he expects to be arrested as soon as Tuesday in a case being investigated by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, sending Republican leaders rallying to his side and forcing potential 2024 challengers to choose between publicly supporting him or backing the moves of the Democratic prosecutor.
A Trump-aligned super-PAC issued a statement on Saturday listing the GOP presidential aspirants who came out in support of Trump, and the former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., urged supporters on Twitter to “pay attention to which Republicans spoke out against this corrupt BS immediately and who sat on their hands and waited to see which way the wind was blowing.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who’s considering a White House bid, called it a “politically charged prosecution.” Vivek Ramaswamy, an Ohio entrepreneur seeking the nomination, also criticized the investigation.
DeSantis, who Trump considers to be his strongest political challenger, sought to walk a fine line on Monday. He criticized Bragg as being a prosecutor supported by George Soros, the billionaire financier and Democratic political donor, calling such prosecutors a “menace to society” because they “weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety.”
The Florida governor said, though, he won’t get involved in “some type of manufactured circus by some Soros DA” and “can’t spend my time worrying about things of that nature.”
At the same press conference, DeSantis also blasted President Joe Biden’s administration for the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and for exploring launching a digital dollar. He said SVB was “politically connected with people in Silicon Valley.”
DeSantis will call on state lawmakers to pass legislation banning the use of a possible US central bank digital currency in Florida, saying Texas and other states might follow. Currently, the US Treasury Department has a working group studying a US CBDC.
“The central bank digital currency is about surveilling Americans and controlling Americans,” he said.
--With assistance from Marvin G. Perez and Felipe Marques.
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