Indian-American Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy have claimed that former US president Donald Trump's indictment in a criminal case was about "revenge" and said it was a "dark day" in the history of the country.
A grand jury in Manhattan on Thursday voted to indict Trump for his role in paying hush money to a porn star. A New York Times report added that an indictment is expected to be announced in the coming days.
By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney Alvin L. Bragg will have asked Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.
In an interview with Fox News, Haley said, "From everything I've seen from this New York district attorney, this would be something he'd be doing for political points. And I think what we know is when you get into political prosecutions like this, it's more about revenge than it is about justice".
"I think the country would be better off talking about things that the American public cares about, than have to deal with some revenge by some political people in New York," she said.
Trump, who has announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential polls, is the first president in American history to face criminal charges. "I believe this witch-hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden," he said in a strongly worded statement after the news of his indictment broke.
Ramaswamy termed Trump's indictment "politically motivated" which would "undermine public trust in our electoral system and our justice system".
"It is un-American for the ruling party to use police power to arrest its political rivals. Principles go beyond partisanship. The American people should decide who governs, not politically ambitious prosecutors," he said.
"Our entire country is skating on thin ice right now and we cannot afford to politicise the justice system or else we will reach our breaking point. I pray for our national unity and call on every current and prospective presidential candidate in both parties to condemn this dangerously politicized prosecution," Ramaswamy said.
Conservative Political Action Committee chairman Matt Schlapp said that he is appalled by the news of Trump's indictment and strongly condemned the "abuse of power" by New York district attorney Alvin L. Bragg.
"Americans have lost confidence in institutions and government experts because truth has become a casualty to raw political power," he said.
The renewed prosecutorial pursuit and indictment of former president Trump is an "outrageous breach of constitutional norms and a continuation of his maniacal political prosecution", Schlapp said.
"We believe that the authoritarian punishment of political opponents is deeply un-American and is more akin to the proceedings of a kangaroo court in a corrupt third-world banana republic. For too long now our justice system has been at the disposal of unhinged bureaucrats, overzealous activist judges and radicalized individuals who have transformed the institutions into political weapons," he said.
Republican National Committee chairperson Ronna McDaniel said, "When our justice system is weaponized as a political tool, it endangers all of us. This (indictment) is a blatant abuse of power from a DA focused on political vengeance instead of keeping people safe."