Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that former President Donald Trump should have done more on Jan. 6 when a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol.
At a press conference in Columbia, South Carolina, DeSantis was asked by an NBC News reporter if Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, were wrong.
“I think it was shown how he was in the White House and did nothing while things were going on. He should have come out stronger,” DeSantis said of Trump, his main opponent in the Republican primary.
Trump said Tuesday that he has been notified he is the target of a federal grand jury-led investigation looking into the Jan. 6 riots and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. DeSantis’ comments marked a rare criticism of his handling. of the riots at the Capitol.
“But trying to criminalize that, that’s a whole other issue, and I think we want to be in a situation where, you know, you don’t have one side constantly trying to imprison the other side. And that’s unfortunately what we’re seeing now,» she added.
The House committee on January 6 that investigated the attack on the Capitol focused one of its public hearings on the 187 minutes between the “Stop the Steal” rally in which Trump encouraged supporters to “fight like hell ” at the Capitol and his tweet asking for calm. . The hearing included testimony that Trump ignored pleas from aides and family members who wanted him to stop the insurrection and that he sat in a private dining room off the Oval Office watching Fox News during the riots.
When asked for comment on DeSantis’ comment, Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesman, referred to his tweet earlier in the day criticizing DeSantis.
«A disqualifying shot of an unserious candidate in the last throes of his failed candidacy,» Cheung said. On twitter.
Asked at the news conference about Trump’s suggestion that he is likely to be charged in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the Jan. 6 and efforts to nullify the election, DeSantis said that while there was not yet seen the news, «I think what I’ve seen in this country is an attempt to criminalize politics and try to criminalize differences.»
Trump already faces two indictments: one from a New York City grand jury focusing on allegations that he made secret payments to two women during his 2016 campaign and the other is a federal case stemming from his handling of classified documents. after leaving the White House.
In his remarks Tuesday as he introduced his proposed policy on reshaping the military, DeSantis also said that as president, he would end the «weaponization» of federal agencies. He compared Trump’s treatment to that of Hunter Biden, who reached a plea deal last month with a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor and is expected to plead guilty to two federal misdemeanors for failing to pay his taxes.
“Unfortunately, we look at institutions like our own FBI and the Department of Justice and we have seen the politicization of those institutions. We have seen them use weapons against the Americans,” DeSantis said. «Hunter Biden, he would have been in jail if he was a Republican, and we all know it.»
Gabe Gutierrez contributed.