Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Noem, US Senators weigh in on Trump charges

Governor's Office
Governor's Office

Some of South Dakota's top Republican leaders are weighing in on the prosecution against former President Donald Trump, calling the process ‘political.’

Gov. Kristi Noem and Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune each issued statements after Trump's indictment became public Tuesday.

Trump is charged with 34 felonies in connection with hush money payments to two women and a doorman in the days leading up to the 2016 election.

One of the women is adult film star Stormy Daniels. The other is former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The charges were announced Tuesday. The indictment alleges Trump falsified New York business and campaign finance records to conceal the payments.

Noem, a Trump ally, is widely speculated to be seeking higher office. She was the first high-profile South Dakota politician to weigh in on the charges.

“He should focus on his job: keeping people safe. He needs to get his priorities straight,” Noem tweeted, referring to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Rounds said regardless of one's political position or perspective, "this prosecution should concern everyone."

"The integrity of our justice system has been called into question because of a politically-motivated district attorney who is bringing charges that the Department of Justice declined to prosecute. The indictment includes 34 counts of falsifying business records for allegations of activity that occurred more than six years ago. Despite the fact these charges are normally misdemeanor charges, the district attorney, in his indictment, is attempting to bootstrap multiple underlying crimes in order to elevate these charges to a felony level. While everyone, including the former president, is subject to the laws of this country, no one should be singled out for political purposes," Rounds's statement reads. "Unfortunately, this soap opera of a prosecution appears to be just that."

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, the number ranking Republican in the Senate, agrees that the case appears political.

“I understand that this is the beginning of a legal process, not the end of one, but after an initial review of the details, this indictment looks like a political agenda run amok, and it’s becoming increasingly clear why previous district attorneys opted against prosecution," Thune said Tuesday evening.

Rep. Dusty Johnson commented on the charges Wednesday afternoon. He explains why he refrained from commented on the charges initially.

"Because I wanted to review the indictment first," Johnson said. "Reviewing the indictments only elevated my fears that they are politically motivated, since two other prosecutors reviewed the same facts and declined to prosecute. Like all of us, former President Trump deserves his day in court, and a jury of citizens will hear his case, weigh the evidence, and render judgment.”

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
Related Content