Despite Trump’s Indictment, Top Republicans Remain Silent on His Claims

After a Manhattan grand jury decided the charges against former President Donald Trump on Thursday (March 30, 2023), many prominent Republicans have remained silent. While Trump refused to accept defeat in 2020 from President Joe Biden, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota both defected from the president.

The two Republican leaders in the Senate avoid talking about the former president in public except to refute false claims that minimize the brutality that happened during the incident on January 6. McConnell is notorious for not returning Trump’s calls beyond the year 2020.

McConnell, a frequent target of Trump’s, is staying home for several weeks to recuperate from a concussion, allowing him to avoid reporters in the Senate corridors who could question him about the indictment. Until the Senate resumes session on April 17, Thune will be free from inquiries from the press.

Despite Trump's Indictment, Top Republicans Remain Silent on His Claims

But compared to the Republican leaders in the House, who were quick to criticize the revelation and vow congressional oversight, both he and Thune have been noticeably silent. According to reports, Elise Stefanik (R-NY), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, has reportedly communicated closely with Trump over the last week, talking him through Party strategies for responding to the criminal accusations.

When former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was voted out of the office in May 2021 for disagreeing with the previous president, Stefanik campaigned for and won the seat, becoming her the fourth-highest ranking Republican in the House and a strong Trump loyalist.

As a member of the House select committee that met on January 6, Cheney quickly came to prominence as one of the most prominent Republican opponents of President Trump. In 2022, a Trump-backed candidate won the primary and lost her seat. She is now teaching while considering her political options.

Cheney has been quiet in the days after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted Trump, despite being a regular opponent of the president and having devoted her entire career to preventing Trump from ever again serving as president. Since leaving office in January, when he was first mentioned as a possible 2024 Republican candidate, Cheney has avoided the continual attention by seldom tweeting or commenting on political affairs.

On Thursday(March 30, 2023), a grand jury indicted President Trump on charges relating to hush money payments to p*rn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016. Bragg is a Democrat who has failed to pursue many infractions since taking office in January. This is the first occasion ever that a former president of the United States has been indicted on criminal charges.

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Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified in 2019 that he paid Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 during the 2016 campaign to silence her about an alleged affair they had in 2005. Cohen told senators that Trump paid him back monthly after he admitted guilt and served time for the purported payment.

Despite Trump's Indictment, Top Republicans Remain Silent on His Claims

Trump insists he did nothing illegal and promises to defend himself in court. Former Vice President Cheney is hardly the only Trump critic remaining silent after the historic indictment. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is now considering a run in 2024 and is anticipated to decide in the coming weeks, has not yet responded to the allegations against him.

Christie supported Trump after he dropped out of the run for president in 2016, but he was never rewarded for his dedication to the government in any way. On January 6, he finally severed ties with Trump for good. Longtime Trump opponent and former governor of Maryland Larry Hogan, who said last month that he will not run in the 2024 primary, has likewise been silent.

Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, was once a strong supporter of President Trump but has since become more critical of him. In a rare criticism, she said in November that the former president was not the “greatest hope” for Republicans to retake the White House in 2024. She has not joined the ranks of Trump’s defenders, even today, since the indictment was announced.

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