DeSantis: Trump’s Jan. 6 Response Should Not Be Criminalized, but He Should Have Come out More ‘Forcefully’

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis
AP Photo/Matt Rourke, AP Photo/Sean Rayford

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters during a press conference in Columbia, South Carolina, Tuesday that former President Donald Trump should have come out more “forcefully” on January 6, although he suggested that he did not believe Trump’s response warrants criminal charges.

Trump on Tuesday announced that Special Counsel Jack Smith informed him he is the target of the January 6 investigation and must appear before the grand jury in four days, which he said, “almost always mean[s] an Arrest and Indictment.”

“This has been a never ending fight since the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower,” Trump explained.

During Tuesday’s press conference, a reporter asked DeSantis, Trump’s Republican primary competitor, if  Trump’s actions were “wrong” on January 6.

“So look, there’s a difference between being brought up on criminal charges and doing things; Like, for example, I think it was shown how he was in the White House and didn’t do anything while things were going on,” DeSantis responded.

DeSantis then said Trump “should have come out more forcefully, of course,” but then said that trying to “criminalize” that is “a different issue entirely.”

“And I think that we want to be in a situation where, you know, you don’t have one side just constantly trying to put the other side in jail. And that, unfortunately, is what we’re seeing now,” he told reporters.

“So, there’s, again, I have, I just, someone had whispered this to me, so I’m sure I’ll have a chance to look at this in the future,” he said, noting during an earlier question that he had not seen the news but that someone briefly informed him of the latest developments.

“Criminal charges is not just because you may have done something wrong. It’s: did you behave criminally? And I think what we’ve seen in this country is an attempt to criminalize politics and to try to criminalize differences. So I don’t know what was all about that,” he said after the first reporter asked about the situation.

“But I do know that we look at institutions, unfortunately, like our own FBI and Department of Justice, and we’ve seen the politicization of those institutions,” he said, explaining they have been weaponized against Americans.

DeSantis continued:

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden, he would have been in jail if he were a Republican, and we all know that. That’s, I think, been a frustration to see how that is wielded. So I can’t speak about that because I haven’t seen it. But I can tell you one of my jobs as president will be to end the weaponization of these agencies, and I will get that job done. We will make it happen.

Notably, the DeSantis War Room has accused the Trump Team of “lying” about DeSantis’s answer, despite the fact that DeSantis did, in fact, suggest that Trump should have come out more “forcefully” on January 6.

Other Republicans have rallied around Trump, deeming the latest development “absolute bullshit” and an extension of the “shameful witch hunt.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.