Gov. Ron DeSantis said, if elected president, he would not allow courts to put Trump in prison ⋆

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said if he were elected president, he would not allow the U.S. justice system to put former President Donald Trump in jail or prison. He made his remarks just after the Colorado Supreme Court decision to keep Trump off the state’s 2024 presidential ballot.

“The idea that we’re going to put an almost 80-year-old former president in prison – that’s not going to be good for this country,” DeSantis said, answering a question during a caucus event at Jethro’s BBQ in Ankeny Tuesday evening.

Colorado Supreme Court blocks Trump from 2024 ballot in historic insurrection ruling

The comments came after the Colorado Supreme Court released its decision barring the former president from the Colorado ballot under the 14th Amendment – a decision likely to be appealed to the federal Supreme Court.

The Colorado lawsuit is one of many legal battles Trump faces as he competes for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Multiple state courts have heard challenges to Trump’s place on primary and general election ballots, and the former president has been charged in four criminal cases.

The Florida governor said he believes that Trump’s legal challenges are one facet of a politicized court system and the “weaponization” of federal agencies, issues that also hurt less famous Americans.

He pointed to former President Gerald Ford’s decision to pardon former President Richard Nixon in 1974 – a decision DeSantis said was criticized, but one that was necessary to allow the country to “move forward.”

“We got to start healing this country at some point,” DeSantis said. “And I think the left, they are hell-bent on using the levers of power to go after people they don’t like and it’s got to stop. And I’m the only guy running that can conceivably put a stop to it. That’s just the reality.”

Steve Deace, a conservative talk show host, speaking in support of DeSantis at the event, said he believes that “everything they’re doing to Donald Trump legally is complete B.S.” But he also said he does not agree with Trump supporters who believe that the former president has a plan to defeat these legal challenges.

The Colorado Supreme Court decision is just the beginning of Trump’s legal battles, he said, pointing to other legal challenges in states like Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona. He urged Iowa Republicans to have an “adult conversation” with their family members who support Trump about the dangers of making him the GOP nominee.

“Here, you’re going to have a choice,” Deace said. “You can spend tens of millions of dollars destroying the dementia patient in the White House and the Democrats … or we could spend tens of millions of dollars next year trying to make sure our nominee is even on the ballot.”

At the same time as DeSantis’ Ankeny event, Trump held a rally in Waterloo. The former president currently leads in Iowa and national polls by a wide margin. In the most recent Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll, 51% of likely Republican caucusgoers said they planned to support Trump in the 2024 Iowa caucuses. DeSantis came in second at 19%.

DeSantis told Iowans to not be discouraged by polling and media reports about the former president’s lead. Iowa has the “power to change these narratives,” he said, and asked attendees for their support Jan. 15, 2024 and to rally other Republicans to his campaign.

“They are juicing the data to make it seem like your vote doesn’t even matter,” DeSantis said. “Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter what they want to run with, it doesn’t matter what they want to produce. That result on the 15th, when that confounds the narrative, that narrative is dead. That narrative is destroyed.”

Texas U.S. Rep. Chip Roy also spoke in support of DeSantis at the event, joining him on the campaign trail at multiple events in Iowa Tuesday.

Roy said he will support whoever becomes the Republican nominee in 2024, including Trump. But Roy said he supports DeSantis because of his accomplishments as Florida governor – and because he is a candidate putting in the work on the campaign trail.

“This is no disrespect to anyone: We do not anoint people,” Roy said. “We do not coronate. We elect people to serve. I have to get elected, the president has to get elected. And I think presidents have an obligation to … earn your support.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: [email protected]. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

authored by Robin Opsahl
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