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McCarthy says people should not protest if Trump is arrested

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
March 20, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA-20)  is making his opinion known as the day for the possible New York arrest of former President Donald Trump approaches.

"I don't think people should protest this, no. I think, President Trump, if you talk to him, he doesn't believe that either," McCarthy told the Daily Mail.

McCarthy believes Trump's words were 'misinterpreted'

McCarthy went on to state that he believed Trump's post on his Truth Social platform was "misinterpreted," and he was trying to let his supporters know that what was about to happen could possibly interfere with his 2024 run for the presidency.

The former president called out to his followers via Truth Social to "protest" and "take America back."

"He's not talking [about protesting] in a harmful way and nobody should harm one another if this were to happen,'" McCarthy said.

The Speaker went on to state that if a protest did take place, people should focus on making it a peaceful protest.

Trump's Truth Social post on Saturday said he may be arrested on Tuesday as a result of an investigation by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg into an alleged $130,000 in hush-money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels during Trump's 2016 campaign, according to The Hill.

Trump also said via his Truth Social account that he found out about the looming arrest through information that was leaked from Bragg's office, according to Voice of America.

Though Daniels claims she and Trump had an affair, Trump denies the allegations.

McCarthy believes Bragg's investigation is a political attack

McCarthy has expressed that he's not in support of the investigation being conducted by Bragg's office,  and has referred to it as a political attack, according to The Hill.

He went on to note that he's expecting Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-4), chair of the House Judiciary Committee Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government, to take some action.

"Lawyer after lawyer after lawyer will tell you this is the weakest case out there," and it, "will not hold up in court," McCarthy said.

According to the Daily Mail, McCarthy said to Bragg, "Stop going after people because you have political differences."

During a press conference on Sunday in Orlando, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (GA-14) told reporters, "I don't think there's anything wrong with calling...for protests. Americans have the right to assemble and the right to [peacefully] protest," The Hill reported.

She added that Trump, "doesn't have to say peaceful for it to mean peaceful. Of course, he means peaceful."

NYPD is preparing for unrest on Tuesday

Nevertheless, the NYPD has said it's bracing itself for a potential outbreak of unrest on Tuesday if Trump is arrested.

"We’ll handle it like we do anything else," NYPD Chief Kevin Maloney told the  New York Post. "It’s lower Manhattan, there’s always plenty of police presence down there, anyway. So we’ll monitor the situation. We’ll have ample resources. We’ll see what Tuesday brings."

Maloney is anticipating that there will be, "conversations with our intel bureau and stakeholders in the federal courthouse and the DA's office.

We'll have an advanced heads-up, I'm sure, on the timing of this whole thing. We'll make sure that the entrance and exits to the courthouse are secure and if the protesters are there, we'll support their rights to peacefully protest. If they're not there, even better," Maloney said.

Trump still has constitutional right to 2024 run if arrested

Even if Trump is convicted of a crime, the Constitution does allow him to continue to run for president if he chooses to do so, McCarthy told the Daily Mail.

"No one knows what impact this will actually have on the 2024 campaign. Everyone is speculating wildly because we have never had a previous situation against which to compare," Bradley Moss, a Washington attorney specializing in litigation involving national security told VOA. "We are in unchartered territory."

"Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination," noted David B. Cohen, a political science professor and researcher at the University of Akron. "If he's not in jail and he continues to stay in the race I think he is absolutely going to be the nominee of the Republican Party."