Several Democratic Massachusetts lawmakers are criticizing former Republican President Donald Trump's statement over the weekend calling for protests if he is indicted this week.
"On January 6th, 2021, Donald Trump asked his supporters to attack the Capitol and to protest, protest, protest, and that was one of the worst days in American history," Sen. Ed Markey said during a media availability Monday. "Now, as Donald Trump is potentially going to be indicted, he is calling for his supporters to protest, protest, protest."
"If he's indicted in New York City, it'll be not just an indictment of Donald Trump but an entire ideology that he brings of hate to the American political process," he added. "My hope is that the criminal justice process as it works in New York City does not elicit a response from Trump supporters as it did on January 6th in the Capitol of Washington, D.C. If it does, we need to make sure New York City police has all the resources they need to guarantee those facilities will be properly protected for the people of that city."
Trump claimed Saturday that his arrest is imminent and issued a call for his supporters to protest as a New York grand jury investigates hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. Even as his lawyer and spokesperson said there had been no communication from prosecutors, Trump declared in a post on his social media platform that he expects to be taken into custody on Tuesday.
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"Donald Trump deserves no sympathy," Markey said. "Everything that has happened to him he deserves, he brought it upon himself. He lost an election but called on people to protest, he may be indicted and he's calling on people to protest... He wants to 'Make America Great Again' by making America hate again, and he's once again trying to elicit that hatred from the base of the Republican Party, his core MAGA supporters."
Congressman Stephen Lynch, who was also at Monday's media availability, said he thinks Trump is using his potential indictment as a way to inflame his base.
"There's no active plan to arrest him. That hasn't been suggested. We don't think he's a flight risk," Lynch said. "It's a bit of trying to gin up the base on his part. The allegations against him are very serious, and an indictment is an indictment, so it should be taken seriously. But I think he's framing this in a much different way, perhaps a dangerous way."
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Much of the rest of the Massachusetts delegation has yet to weigh in publicly on Trump's potential indictment. But House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark did share her thoughts on Twitter on Sunday.
"Core to our democracy is the rule of law," she tweeted. "And yet the former president is calling for violence and the Speaker of the House is coming to his defense. This extreme behavior is dangerous and unpatriotic."
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is thought to be eyeing charges in the hush money investigation, and recently offered Trump a chance to testify before the grand jury. Local law enforcement officials are bracing for the public safety ramifications of an unprecedented prosecution of a former American president.
But there has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case. At least one additional witness is expected to testify, further indicating that no vote to indict has yet been taken, according to a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to publicly discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The indictment of Trump, 76, would be an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings.
Even as Trump pursues his latest White House campaign — his first rally is set for Waco, Texas, later this month and he shook hands and took selfies with fans during a public appearance Saturday evening at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma — there is no question an indictment would be a distraction and give fodder to opponents and critics tired of the legal scandals that have long enveloped him.
Besides the hush money inquiry in New York, Trump faces separate criminal investigations in Atlanta and Washington over his efforts to undo the results of the 2020 election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.