How Trump's GOP rivals reacted to his indictment in classified documents case

Several of Donald Trump's rivals in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination were quick to respond to the news that the former president has been indicted on charges stemming from the Justice Department's investigation into his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and his alleged efforts to obstruct the probe.

Trump, who in April became the first former U.S. president ever to be charged with a crime in an alleged money case at the New York state level, is now the first to ever to be indicted on federal charges. He is the current frontrunner in the GOP primary.

Here is what some of the other candidates in the race had to say about the indictment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

"The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society," DeSantis tweeted. "We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation. Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter? The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all."

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

"We don't get our news from Trump's Truth Social account," Christie tweeted. "Let's see what the facts are when any possible indictment is released. As I have said before, no one is above the law, no matter how much they wish they were. We will have more to say when the facts are revealed."

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson

"With the news that Donald Trump has been indicted for the second time, our country finds itself in a position that weakens our democracy," Hutchinson said in a statement. "Donald Trump's actions — from his willful disregard for the Constitution to his disrespect for the rule of law — should not define our nation or the Republican Party. This is a sad day for our country. While Donald Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the ongoing criminal proceedings will be a major distraction. This reaffirms the need for Donald Trump to respect the office and end his campaign."

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

"One thing that makes America the city on the hill is confidence in our justice system," Scott said on Fox News Thursday night. "And today what we see is a justice system where the scales are weighted. That seems to be the outcome of where we are today. As president of the United States I would purge all the injustices and impurities in our system so that every American can have confidence that they will be seen by the Lady of Justice with a blindfold on. That is what we need in this nation."

Vivek Ramaswamy

"We can't have two tiers of justice: one for Trump, another for Biden," the entrepreneur tweeted. "There are also serious legal questions about the President's power to declassify documents and the potential illegality of the over-classification of federal documents in the first place. That's for the courts to decide, but *we the people* decide who governs this nation. It would be much easier for me to win this election if Trump weren't in the race, but I stand for principles over politics. I commit to pardon Trump promptly on January 20, 2025 and to restore the rule of law in our country."

Perry Johnson

"Punishment for Espionage can be quite severe!" the Michigan businessman and longshot GOP candidate tweeted. "Every GOP candidate for President must say whether they would pardon Donald Trump!"

Notably, former Vice President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations and ex-South Carolina governor, have yet to weigh in publicly on the indictment.

Pence did say Wednesday of the then-prospective indictment: "I would just hope that there would be a way to move forward without the dramatic and drastic and divisive step of indicting a former president of the United States."