Former US president Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner broke their silence on Friday after the ex-president was indicted the previous day over alleged hush money paid to a porn star in 2016.
Trump is to be booked, fingerprinted and will have a mugshot taken at a New York City courthouse on Tuesday afternoon before appearing before a judge as the first ever American president to face criminal charges.
In a brief statement posted to social media, Ivanka Trump said, “I love my father, and I love my country.”
“Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern,” she wrote.
Kushner said the indictment was evidence of “fear” among Donald Trump’s opponents.
“As an American, it’s very troubling to me to see the leader of the opposition party be indicted, and I think that that shows obviously the fear that the Democrats have of Trump and the political strength that he has,” Kushner said at a Florida summit held by the Future Investment Initiative Institute.
“It’s been hard to watch the opponents of him politically continue to break every norm over the last years to try to get him,” Kushner said during the opening of a talk focused on the Abraham Accords. Kushner linked the indictment to accusations against Trump of colluding with Russia, his impeachments, and law enforcement raids aimed at uncovering classified documents on his property.
“I’ve been by him in a lot of these instances and it’s only made him stronger and his resolve to take on big challenges to fight for change, to fight for the American people has only gotten stronger,” Kushner said.
The former president and his legal team went on the offensive Friday following the historic indictment, vowing that Trump would never seek a plea deal and was ready “to fight” all charges.
The 76-year-old Trump, who is hoping to recapture the White House in 2024, attacked the prosecutors who brought the charges against him and the judge expected to hear the case.
“ELECTION INTERFERENCE, KANGAROO COURT!” Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social, adding that Juan Manuel Marchal, the judge who may preside over an eventual trial, “hates me.”
“The president will not be put in handcuffs,” said Joe Tacopina, one of Trump’s attorneys, adding that he does not believe prosecutors will “allow this to become a circus.”
Tacopina said the hush-money case being brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against Trump faces “substantial legal challenges” and the former president would plead not guilty.
There is “zero” chance Trump would accept a plea deal, he told NBC’s Today show. “It’s not going to happen. There’s no crime.”
Trump, who is currently at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, was initially “shocked” at the indictment, his attorney said, but “he’s now in the posture that he’s ready to fight this.”
Trump’s pending arrest throws a political grenade into next year’s White House race and President Joe Biden sidestepped questions from reporters about the indictment of the Republican he beat in 2020 and could potentially face again in November of next year.
“I have no comment on Trump,” Biden said.
A New York grand jury indicted Trump on Thursday over a $130,000 hush-money payment made to a porn star to buy her silence during his 2016 campaign.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused Bragg, a Democrat, of waging a “political witch-hunt” to derail his new White House bid.
In predicting his indictment, Trump called for protests and warned it could lead to “potential death and destruction” for the country.
And in a statement, the ex-president said he had already raised $4 million for his 2024 presidential campaign in the 24 hours following news of the indictment.
Extra security has been deployed for days around the downtown Manhattan courthouse where Trump is to be booked and arraigned, with the New York Police Department saying Friday there were “no current credible threats” to the city.
Trump survived two impeachments while in the White House and kept prosecutors at bay over everything from the US Capitol riot to missing classified files — only to land in court over a sex scandal involving Stormy Daniels, a 44-year-old adult movie actress.
He faces felony investigations in Georgia relating to the 2020 election and in Washington over both the classified files and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by his supporters.
Top Republicans have rallied around the former president who remains the favorite to win the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, said the indictment had “irreparably damaged” the country.
Trump’s former vice president and possible 2024 challenger Mike Pence called it an “outrage” that would only “further serve to divide” the United States.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, another likely 2024 Republican rival, slammed the indictment as “un-American.”
On the Democratic side, former House speaker Nancy Pelosi said “no one is above the law” and Representative Adam Schiff — lead prosecutor of Trump’s first impeachment — called it “sobering.”
Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress in 2019 that he made the payment to Daniels on Trump’s behalf to hide a 2006 tryst and was later reimbursed.
The grand jury that indicted Trump was asked to consider if there had been a cover-up intended to benefit his campaign by burying the scandal.