Trump, GOP react to indictment with rage, fundraising

STORY: Donald Trump responded angrily to the indictment issued against him Thursday by a Manhattan grand jury, criticizing what he called ‘thugs and radical left monsters’ in a post on his Truth Social platform.

The former U.S. president was investigated over alleged hush money payments to pornstar Stormy Daniels.

But he maintained his innocence and said without providing evidence the indictment was “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history”.

Trump previously said he would continue his run to be a Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential elections despite facing criminal charges.

Supporters outside his Florida home appeared confident at his chances.

(“With everything happening, do you think it’s going to make his campaign less…”)

“No. It’s going to give him the presidency. Just watch.”

Trump remains the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP contest – for now, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, he’s got the support of 44% of Republicans. His closest rival, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, came in with 30% support.

Potential GOP challengers on Thursday demonstrated the fine line they must tread to avoid alienating Trump supporters, DeSantis said on Twitter the indictment was "un-American" and a “weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda."

He didn’t name Trump, but said Florida would not play a role in an extradition request to New York.

Former Vice President Mike Pence called it an "outrage," while election hopeful Senator Tim Scott said it was a "travesty”.

Both are potential 2024 candidates who have yet to declare they’re in the running.

Less than two hours after the indictment, Trump appealed to supporters to help with his legal defense, asking to turn their outrage into support in an email.

GOP officials and political analysts predict the prosecution will boost Trump support, and harden his supporters’ resolve to back him in the 2024 Republican primary.

Already in just a week’s time, the Trump campaign raised nearly $2 million from small-sum donations, after Trump primed a Republican reaction by warning of a so-called “imminent arrest”.