Ohio members of Congress, U.S. Senate candidates react to Trump indictment
Ohio Republicans swiftly condemned the indictment of Donald Trump on Thursday, the first time in American history a former president has ever been criminally charged.
A New York grand jury voted to indict Trump on unspecified criminal charges. The grand jury had been investigating a hush money payment that Trump's attorney made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election after she claimed she had an affair with him.
Trump denied the charges and accused Democrats of "weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent." He previously said he wouldn't exit the 2024 presidential race if indicted.
More: Grand jury indicts Donald Trump in New York, first time a former president is charged criminally
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, one of Trump's strongest supporters in Congress, tweeted just one word when news of the indictment came down: "Outrageous."
Jordan is one of three GOP House committee chairs who called on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to testify about the investigation. The Republicans said they had concerns that Bragg’s investigation of Trump would become “a politically motivated prosecutorial decision."
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) March 30, 2023
Democrats said Trump deserves the same treatment as any other American.
“In the months to come, let’s hope our judicial system does what it’s intended for − to deliver justice for ALL," U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus, said. "Today shows that no person − not even a former President − is above the law!"
U.S. Rep. Greg Landsman, D-Cincinnati, called Trump a "chaos machine" and encouraged people to move on from the former president.
"From the Stormy Daniels thing to storming the Capitol, Trump only does chaos and extremism," Landsman said. "The rest of us − Republicans, Democrats, Independents − we have to keep our attention on the actual work of leading this country: fixing our economy, getting wages up, costs down, keeping our children and families safe, restoring freedom, strengthening our democracy and voting rights."
A spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, did not respond to a request for comment.
Ohio Republicans jump to Trump's defense
Ohio's junior senator, U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance − who secured Trump's endorsement during the 2022 Senate race − accused Democrats of playing political games and cast the case as a "baseless misdemeanor charge."
"Donald Trump is the former President of the United States, the leader of our nation’s political opposition, and the presumptive Republican nominee in 2024," Vance said. "Alvin Bragg’s decision to indict him is blatant election interference and a direct assault on the tens of millions of Americans who support him."
U.S. Rep. Max Miller, R-Rocky River, who worked in the Trump White House, called the indictment "politically motivated." U.S. Rep. Mike Carey, R-Columbus, claimed Bragg is more focused on a "witch hunt" against Trump than addressing crime in New York.
New York saw a drop in shootings and homicides in 2022 but an increase in robberies and burglaries, the New York Times reported.
"He's making a mockery of our legal system," Carey said. "The people of NYC deserve better and the American voters deserve better."
Potential Ohio U.S. Senate candidates weigh in
The indictment also trickled into the race to challenge Brown for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat in 2024.
State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, who announced his bid for the GOP nomination in January, accused Democrats of using the investigation to distract from larger problems.
"We need a Republican nominee that will defeat Sherrod Brown, not someone who willfully plays into his hands," Dolan said. "My focus is on offering solutions to the challenges confronting Ohio. Period."
More: Alvin Bragg v. Donald Trump: Inside Manhattan DA's latest legal tangle with former president
Dolan is the only Republican who has officially entered the race, but other candidates are expected to join the fray. Among them is Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno, who compared the indictment to "political persecution you see in 3rd world banana Republics in South America."
"This is un-American & corrupt to the core," Moreno tweeted. "Dems are weaponizing the power of govt. to try to stop Trump from running again."
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is seen as a likely Senate candidate, also went after crime rates in New York.
"Record-setting crime wave tearing Manhattan apart, but this is the DA's focus?" LaRose tweeted. "What a joke. This is what happens when liberal activists take over the mechanisms we use to deliver justice. America is fed up."
USA TODAY contributed to this report.
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Jim Jordan, other Ohio members of Congress react to Trump indictment