"Communist-level s**t": Trump and followers freak out over indictment; Dems celebrate

Trump vows to "defeat" Bragg and Biden in lengthy screed — but no protests so far as MAGA world vents its shock

By Rae Hodge

Staff Reporter

Published March 30, 2023 7:17PM (EDT)

Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump was indicted on felony charges on Thursday afternoon by a Manhattan grand jury over his payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, as reported by the New York Times and numerous other media outlets. The charges, filed by prosecutors from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, are not yet known but should be revealed in coming days. 

Reactions to the news quickly poured out across Twitter, with Republican outrage and Democratic celebration erupting late in the day. Within minutes of the news breaking, Trump posted a lengthy statement on his Truth Social account, which appeared to have been written in advance. The ex-president described the indictment as "political persecution and election interference" and suggested it would help him win the 2024 presidential election.

"Our movement and our party — united and strong — will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden," Trump wrote

Trump's audience didn't seem to hear him, though. 

"I'm standing outside the Manhattan D.A.'s office in New York City right now and there is literally no one here except police and the media. No protesters. No Trump supporters. Pretty much silence. Watch this depressing crowd size below," tweeted Biden delegate Victor Shi. 

As noted by NBC News' Ben Collins, Donald Trump Jr. took to his podcast when he heard the news.

"Apparently, Soros-backed Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg is indicting my father. Let's be clear folks: This is Communist-level shit. This is stuff that would make Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot blush," the younger Trump said.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee immediately lamented Trump's arrest on the panel's official Twitter account. 

"This happened in America. Sad day for our country," the committee said.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., reportedly called the indictment into question, telling Fox' Chad Pergram, "This is the same district attorney who is notorious for letting violent criminals off the hook." (In fact, violent crime remains near historic lows in New York City.)

Even Fox News hosts appeared shocked at the announcement. Audible gasps could be heard during the program as word reached those in the studio. 

As first observed by Media Matters' Alicia Sadowski, Fox host Jesse Watters took an ominous tone reacting to the news.

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"I'm angry about it. I don't like it. The country's not going to stand for it. And people better be careful, and that's all I'll say about that," Watters told audiences. 

Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and former Air Force prosecutor, called on others to allow the judicial system to do its job. 

"Indicting a former President is a horrible precedent; the only precedent worse than that is to not indict Donald Trump if there is evidence that he committed crimes," Lieu said in a tweet. 

Meanwhile, the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington pulled no punches, calling Trump the "most corrupt president in American history."

By Rae Hodge

Rae Hodge is a science reporter for Salon. Her data-driven, investigative coverage spans more than a decade, including prior roles with CNET, the AP, NPR, the BBC and others. She can be found on Mastodon at @raehodge@newsie.social. 


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Alvin Bragg Brief Donald Trump Gop Indictment Republicans Trump Supporters