Here’s what DeSantis, Christie and other Trump 2024 rivals are saying about the Georgia indictment
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The conduct is very disturbing’: Christie reacts to Trump 4th indictment


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The conduct is very disturbing’: Christie reacts to Trump 4th indictment


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CNN
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Donald Trump’s biggest detractors in the 2024 Republican presidential race offered mixed reactions Tuesday to the former president’s indictment by a Georgia grand jury.

Trump has remained defiant in the face of the new charges against him and 18 others stemming from their efforts to overturn his 2020 electoral defeat. He now faces four separate indictments at the same time that he’s running for president as the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

Two rivals argued that the charges Trump faces in Fulton County are similar to the election interference charges brought by federal special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, and said the federal case should take precedence.

Here’s what Trump’s 2024 GOP opponents are saying about the latest indictment:

Christie told Fox News that he is “uncomfortable” with what he views as an “unnecessary” indictment from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

“I think that this conduct is essentially covered by the federal indictment,” he said. “I would have less of a problem with this if she decided, ‘OK, I’m not going to charge Donald Trump here, because he has been charged for, essentially this conduct, by Jack Smith.’”

However, Christie said the Fulton County prosecution of Trump’s close allies, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was “more defensible” because they “have not been charged at the federal level” like Trump has.

Christie defended the timing of Willis’ indictment, saying that Trump’s decision to run in 2024 was “not an excuse” for the justice system to stop operating.

“I think all of these judges in the end will make decisions based upon the reasonable availability of all the witnesses and everyone else,” he said.

Later, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Christie was asked whether Willis might have brought charges against Trump because he wouldn’t be able to shut down the state case and pardon himself if he is elected president again in 2024, Christie said, “I don’t think that’s the prosecutor’s job. The prosecutor’s job is to look at how do you administer justice in this case.”

He said Republican voters should ask themselves, “Is someone out on bail in four jurisdictions really our best chance to beat Joe Biden?”

“Are we really going to continue to act as if this is normal conduct? It’s not,” he said.

Hutchinson, who has long called for Trump to drop out of the race because of his conduct, said the latest indictment further strengthens his belief that the former president should not be seeking the 2024 GOP nomination.

But much like Christie, he said he believes Willis may be stepping outside her jurisdiction, given the federal charges Trump faces.

“Generally, state cases are deferential to the federal cases that have been brought, and I think you can make the case that Georgia should have been deferential because there’s overlap there as well, but it is what it is,” Hutchinson said.

Another strident Trump critic, Hurd said in a statement that Trump’s latest indictment was “another example of how the former president’s baggage will hand Joe Biden reelection if Trump is the Republican nominee.”

“This is further evidence that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and was ready to do anything it took to cling to power,” Hurd said. “It’s time we move beyond dealing with the former president’s baggage. The Republican Party needs a leader who isn’t afraid of bullies like Trump.”

The tech entrepreneur was sharply critical of the charges Trump faces in Georgia.

At a NewsNation town hall Monday night, Ramaswamy said he hadn’t read the details of the indictments but painted the multiple investigations into Trump in multiple jurisdictions as an effort to negatively impact the former president’s chances of winning the 2024 election.

“These are politicized persecutions through prosecution,” Ramaswamy said. “It would be a lot easier for me if Donald Trump were not in this primary, but that is not how I want to win this election. The way we do elections in the United States of America is that we the people – you all – get to decide who governs, not the federal police state.”

DeSantis, Trump’s top-polling primary rival who has criticized the prosecution of the former president, told New England reporters Tuesday that the Georgia indictment is an example of the “criminalization of politics.”

“They’re now doing an inordinate amount of resources to try to shoehorn this contest over the 2020 election into a RICO statute, which was really designed to be able to go after organized crime, not necessarily to go after political activity,” the governor told WMUR at a news conference, referring to a racketeering charge brought against Trump. “And so, I think it’s an example of this criminalization of politics. I don’t think that this is something that is good for the country.”

DeSantis later told reporters in New Hampshire that he thinks Trump is currently leading in the 2024 GOP primary in polls in part because of how Republican voters have responded to the indictments.

“Clearly, there’s been a change in some of the polling since the Alvin Bragg case was brought,” DeSantis said in reference to the indictment brought by the Manhattan district attorney against Trump related to an alleged hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. “I think that’s just irrefutable.”

Much like DeSantis, Scott, rather than criticizing Trump’s actions, lambasted the prosecution of the former president.

“We see the legal system being weaponized against political opponents,” the senator told reporters Tuesday at the Iowa State Fair. “That is un-American and unacceptable.”

Scott said he hopes to “restore confidence and integrity” to the legal system if he were to become president.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Aaron Pellish, Kit Maher, Abby Baggini, David Wright, Eva McKend, Alison Main and Steve Contorno contributed to this report.

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