GOP presidential rivals react to Trump civil trial verdict
Reactions from Donald Trump’s GOP rivals in the 2024 race came in Tuesday after a jury found the former president liable for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s.
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy questioned whether there would have been a lawsuit had the defendant been anyone other than Trump.
"Based on the sheer timing of the allegations – that the alleged offense occurred in the mid-1990s and Ms. Carroll did not sue until 2019-2022, far beyond the normal statute of limitations for the underlying offense, and in the middle of a spate of other legal charges against Trump for other ancient allegations – this seems like just another part of the establishment’s anaphylactic response against its chief political allergen: Donald Trump," Ramaswamy said.
Ramaswamy, a 37-year-old first-time candidate and multi-millionaire entrepreneur who announced his candidacy in late February, said the 2024 presidential race would be easier without Trump, but lamented the weaponization of "the law with decades-old allegations to undercut" political opponents.
TRUMP TO APPEAL VERDICT IN E. JEAN CARROLL CIVIL CASE, SAYS HE HAS ‘ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA’ WHO SHE IS
"I want to win this race by showing voters how I will take the America First movement beyond Trump, and I look forward to facing him on the debate stage," Ramaswamy said.
Former two-term Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson - who is also a current Republican presidential candidate - took a different approach from his younger rival, saying the jury’s decision ought to be taken seriously.
"Over the course of my over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, I have seen firsthand how cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire," Hutchinson said in a statement to Fox News. "The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump."
A jury found Trump liable Tuesday for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996, awarding her $5 million.
The verdict was announced in a federal courtroom in New York City on the first day of deliberations. Jurors rejected Carroll's claim that she was raped, but found Trump liable for sexual abuse and for defaming Carroll after she made her allegations public.
Trump chose not to attend the civil trial and was absent when the verdict was read.
Fox News' Paul Steinhauser and the Associated Press contributed to this report.