Joe Battenfeld: Trumped up charges could become rallying cry for Republicans

From the commentary: The divisive rhetoric permeating the political landscape today is even filtering down to what used to be less partisan areas — like official White House and congressional accounts.

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump arrives to address the annual Conservative Political Action Conference at Gaylord National Resort Convention Center on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in National Harbor, Maryland.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)

The likely indictment of former President Donald Trump is a bold — some would say foolhardy — political gambit and could simply become a rallying cry for Trump’s presidential campaign.

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Liberal Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is risking galvanizing Republicans by charging the former president in a seven-year-old hush money deal to silence a porn star right before the 2016 election.

Trump is already making hay of his potential arrest by urging supporters to protest – while other Republicans, even those like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — are rallying to Trump’s side.

DeSantis criticized Bragg as a “Soros-funded prosecutor” who is “pursuing a political agenda” — comments that drew Trump’s attention on Monday.

“Ron DeSanctimonious will probably find out about FALSE ACCUSATIONS & FAKE STORIES sometime in the future as he gets older, wiser and better known,” Trump posted on his Truth Social site. “I’m sure he will want to fight these misfits just like I do.”


Of course, DeSantis isn’t facing anything like the charges Trump is accused of, and both of them know that.

But now they have a common enemy in Bragg and other Democrats who are calling for Trump to be dragged in handcuffed and perp-walked — some even calling for him to be jailed without bail.

Every American should think long and hard about how they’re going after Trump because next time they could be coming after your candidate.

This is how they deal with political opponents in totalitarian countries – lock them up on trumped-up charges.

While there are plenty of other things to charge Trump with, paying off a porn star and violating campaign finance laws — with a sleazy lying lawyer as your star witness — is not the hill that Democrats want to die on.

They couldn’t nail Trump on Jan. 6 or tax evasion or taking confidential documents so they come up with this? A campaign finance violation?

There is no debate; this is a political prosecution that will divide the country and undermine the judicial system.

It’s an extremely weak case yet it could drag on for two years — well into the 2024 campaign — and if Democrats get the mugshot photo they want it will all be worth it to them.


But that isn’t stopping Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren from jumping into the fray. Warren over the weekend insisted there’s “no reason to protest” Trump’s possible indictment.

“This is the law operating as it should without fear or favor for anyone,” she said.

That ludicrous claim is just the latest one Trump critics have made over the past few days, including saying Trump was advocating violence for saying people should protest his arrest.

The divisive rhetoric permeating the political landscape today is even filtering down to what used to be less partisan areas — like official White House and congressional accounts.

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“The extreme MAGA Republican House Freedom Caucus recent budget proposal will be a five-alarm fire for families — including by endangering public safety,” an email from White House regional communications director Seth Schuster said.

So even in what should be a harmless press release about the budget the Biden administration is encouraging political strife by attacking conservative Republicans.

Can you blame “extreme MAGA Republicans” for wanting to protest?

Joe Battenfeld is a veteran columnist for the Boston Herald. This commentary is the columnist's opinion. Send feedback to:

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