(MENAFN) During a news conference in Panama, Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis sought to distance himself from former President Donald Trump's claim that he would be arrested on Tuesday. When asked about it, DeSantis responded, "I don't know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I just can't speak to that." His answer elicited laughter from the audience of supporters.
DeSantis' reference to the core of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's investigation was just one swipe within his full answer, in which he labeled any district attorney backed by billionaire George Soros as a "menace to society" who is ignoring local crime. He emphasized that he has no interest in getting involved in a "manufactured circus by some Soros DA" and that he has to spend his time on issues that actually matter to people.
Meanwhile, a grand jury in Manhattan has been investigating a "hush money" payment allegedly made on Trump's behalf to adult film star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election. Trump was invited to testify before the grand jury last week, and in New York, the offer to testify often precedes an indictment.
DeSantis' answer and some of the reaction — or lack of reaction — from other potential 2024 presidential candidates comes at a time when Trump is trying to gain some benefit from the investigation. His campaign has sent out multiple fundraising emails labeling the investigation as a "witch hunt" that will "threaten" his political movement. In a video last Friday about the investigation, Trump said, "I will never surrender, and you will never surrender."
A Trump campaign fundraising email sent Monday claimed, "If media leaks are correct, this could be the last time I write to you before a possible indictment comes down." DeSantis' distancing himself from Trump's potential arrest underscores the growing division within the Republican Party over Trump's continued influence and the ongoing investigation. As the investigation unfolds, it remains to be seen how it will impact Trump's political future and the future of the Republican Party.
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