Officials from our region react to Trump indictment

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 12:07 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermonters and public officials Thursday reacted with a range of emotions to news of the indictment of former President Donald Trump. Some say they’re excited for justice. while others say it’s a sad day in American history.

Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, a historic reckoning after years of investigations into his personal, political, and business dealings and an abrupt jolt to his bid to retake the White House.

“[I have] two strong emotions I’m feeling. One is a sense of relief no one is above the law,” said Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vermont. She says a grand jury indictment shows this goes beyond more than one or two people. “But this is a sad day. This is an incredibly somber day -- as an American and as a history teacher. This is going to be a moment that defines this 45th president.”

While Trump claims the case is politically motivated, Vermonters say that’s up to the justice system to decide.

“I think he was trying to jump the gun a little bit to force the issue to make it run in his favor,” said Robert Wood from South Burlington.

“If you or I did a fraction of the things he did, we would not be standing in this parking lot, we would be in jail,” Kristin Blanchette from Monkton.

“The law is the law. And nobody–including Donald Trump–is above it. While we await more information on the indictment from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, we should let the legal process work its will,” Senator Peter Welch, D, Vt. wrote in a statement to WCAX.

“Trust in government is at an all-time low right now. Part of that distrust is about the fact we don’t seem to hold people accountable,” Balint continued. “We have to move forward as a nation. We have to move forward. If it means a president needs to be held accountable for his actions, that’s what needs to happen.”

Representative Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y, shared her own statement, saying: “The unprecedented election interference from corrupt Socialist District Attorney Alvin Bragg is a political witch-hunt and a dark day for America. The radical Far Left will stop at nothing to persecute Joe Biden’s chief political opponent ahead of the 2024 presidential election to suppress the will and voice of the American people. Tens of millions of patriotic Americans have never been so energized to exercise their constitutional rights to peacefully organize and VOTE at the ballot box to save our great republic by electing President Donald J. Trump in 2024.”

Senator Maggie Hassan chimed in, saying: “No one is above the law, and we have an independent judicial system for a reason. Every day in our country, grand juries convene, hear the evidence, and decide whether or not to indict people. While this is a somber day for our country and an extraordinary case, it is also an example of our judicial system at work, where even former presidents can be indicted and held accountable under the law. I will continue to follow the developments in this case.”