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Ron DeSantis criticizes Trump indictment, says he wouldn’t honor extradition request

By Sarah May
|
March 31, 2023

In the wake of Thursday's surprise news that former President Donald Trump had been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury comes word that, despite recent public sparring between the two, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared that he “will not assist” in any potential extradition request from D.A. Alvin Bragg for one of the Sunshine State's most famous residents, as Fox News reports.

DeSantis, thought to be a likely Trump rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, took to Twitter Thursday to express his disapproval of the criminal charges against the former commander in chief.

Indictment revealed

As the Associated Press reported on Thursday, Trump was indicted by a grand jury following a probe of hush money payments made to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels back in 2016.

Because of those charges, Trump will be compelled to travel to New York so that he can surrender and face arraignment in the Big Apple.

That appearance will entail things such as fingerprinting, photography, and other procedural details that typically require detention for at least a few hours.

While defendants often make arrangements with prosecutors to turn themselves in for processing, it remains unclear exactly when Trump may make his way north and what role his Secret Service detail may play in the event.

DeSantis says no

Regardless of what Bragg's office would like to have happen, DeSantis has made it clear that his state will not participate in the process of sending Trump to New York to face spurious charges leveled with what he says are nefarious motivations.

“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head,” DeSantis tweeted on Thursday evening, adding, “[i]t is un-American.”

DeSantis continued, “The Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct. Yet, now, he is stretching the law to target a political opponent.”

“Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda,” the governor concluded.

“Manufactured circus”

Earlier this month, after Trump predicted that his arrest in the New York matter was imminent, DeSantis also indicated his unwillingness to provide assistance with any extradition request from Bragg, as Politico noted at the time.

“I have no interest in getting involved in some type of manufactured circus by some Soros D.A.,” DeSantis said, referencing financial donations Bragg has received in the past from the progressive billionaire financier.

The governor continued, “He's trying to do a political spectacle...I've got real issues I've got to deal with here in the state of Florida.”

“We're not getting involved in it in any way,” DeSantis added, and in light of Thursday's tweet, he does not appear to have changed his mind.

Lingering tensions

Though DeSantis has made it clear that he vehemently disagrees with Bragg's use of the judicial system to target political foes, he has also taken available opportunities to jab his potential primary opponent over the substance of the probe that got him into hot water in New York.

Commenting on the issue of a possible Trump indictment earlier in March, DeSantis noted, “I don't know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I just can't speak to that.”

The governor did attempt to temper that dig a little by adding that the entire matter was a regrettable and “high-profile politicized prosecution” by someone backed by Soros, but that did little to mask the obvious attempt to highlight the salacious aspect of the claims against Trump.

As such, the former president responded in a subsequently deleted post on his Truth Social platform by saying, “Ron will probably find out about this sometime in the future when he's unfairly and illegally attacked by a woman (or possibly a man!) with false accusations.”

DeSantis' cautious approach to wading in on Trump's legal concerns was noted by Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted, as the BBC noted, “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.” Precisely how rank-and-file Republicans will respond to Thursday's events and the spectacles yet to come, however, only time will tell.