Editorial: Trump indictment has 2024 implications for both of Florida's most famous politicians. But what?
Published in Political News
The indictment of Donald J. Trump is not a time for his enemies to gloat. It’s not a time for his fervent supporters to violently take to the streets, nor is it a time for the former president to incite them to do so.
It’s a time, rather, to consider how this country reached this stunning point.
It’s not like we didn’t know this was coming. After all, there are several investigations into the former president’s actions — both while he occupied the Oval Office and after. The ex-president himself even said he was going to be indicted.
But on Thursday, a New York grand jury made it official, voting to indict him, most likely for his alleged role in paying hush money to a porn star.
The ex-president’s response was vintage, fire-breathing, capital-letter Trump: “This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats — the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country — have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement.”
Trump, once again, is the president without precedent. He was twice impeached when he was in office. And, now, the dam has broken. For the first time, a former president has been criminally charged. That may embolden other prosecutors in the many investigations into Trump’s dealings.
We can’t forget that Trump remains under investigation in Georgia over allegations of election interference in 2020. There’s still a special prosecutor in the federal system looking into his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, too. There’s also the Justice Department investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection and efforts to overturn the election that Trump falsely claimed to have won.
Nor can we ignore the implications for Florida’s second most-famous politician. Trump’s indictment could mean a clearer path for DeSantis to realize his presidential ambitions. His hard-right policies, his travel itinerary including a speech in Israel, his just-published book — all are the build up to a likely announcement in the near future.
However, Trump’s legal troubles could further solidify his true believers. Trump is resilient, and his followers will no doubt see these charges as more evidence that he is being persecuted.
In a field of candidates that’s like to grow, DeSantis surely hopes — and perhaps even needs — to win over Trump’s supporters to clinch the Republican nomination. Despite the buzz he has created with his migrant flights and drag-queen drama, DeSantis still trails Trump among likely Republican voters in several credible polls.
©2023 Miami Herald. Visit at miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.