DeSantis wishes Trump was never indicted, says it ‘distorted the primary’

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(NEW YORK) — Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that he wished former President Donald Trump hadn’t been indicted, saying he thinks the charges have helped him in the race to become the Republican nominee.

Asked whether he had one regret throughout this primary cycle, DeSantis said Trump’s legal trouble has “distorted the primary.”

DeSantis made his comment to David Brody in an interview with CBN.

“I would say if I could have one thing change, I wish Trump hadn’t been indicted on any of this stuff. I mean, honestly, I think that, you know, from Alvin Bragg on, I’ve criticized the cases, I think, you know, someone like a Bragg would not have brought that case if it was anyone other than Donald Trump. And so, you know, someone like that’s distorting justice, which is bad, but I also think it distorted the primary and I think it’s been, those have kind of been the main issues that have happened.”

“Because it’s helped him? Is that what you’re saying?” Brody asked, alluding to Trump’s dominant performance in the Republican primary, according to 538 polling.

“It’s both that, but then also, it’s just crowded out, I think, so much other stuff and it’s sucked out a lot of oxygen, and so, you know, some of these guys like Bragg, you know, that they abused their power,” DeSantis responded. “I mean, incidentally, he’s a Soros-backed prosecutor — I’m the only one in the country, I’ve removed two [prosecutors], one from Tampa and one from Orlando — and it does show you that they view law as an extension of politics, and that gets very, very dangerous when this country goes down that road.”

Pressed by Brody whether it made Trump “stronger” in the primary and “made it tougher for you and others” to break through with GOP voters, DeSantis said it did.

“I think for the primary, it distorted, yeah, I think it’s distorted,” he said. “Now in the general election, I think the Democrats have a plan on this, I think the media has a plan on this and I think if it gets to the point where six months from now, Trump’s the presumptive nominee and he’s having to go through all this, they have a plan for how they’re going to ride this out.”

538’s polling averages show that DeSantis was running much more closely behind Trump early in the year, but that began to change shortly before Trump’s first indictment.

DeSantis has expressed condemnation of prosecutors amid Trump’s legal woes, saying immediately after Trump’s third indictment — charging him in connection with his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss — that while he had not yet read the indictment, he believes the case is further evidence for the need to “reform” America’s justice system.

“As President, I will end the weaponization of government, replace the FBI Director, and ensure a single standard of justice for all Americans,” DeSantis wrote. “While I’ve seen reports, I have not read the indictment. I do, though, believe we need to enact reforms so that Americans have the right to remove cases from Washington, DC to their home districts.”

Prosecutors have rejected the claim that they were politically motivated.

Following Trump’s first indictment brought following an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 campaign, DeSantis, as governor of Florida, said the Sunshine State would “not assist in an extradition request.”

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all four cases and entered not guilty pleas.

 

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