Mar 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy calls for no protests or violence if Trump is arrested

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and green tie, speaks in front of an American flag and a large portrait.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Sunday he wants no protests or violence if former President Trump is indicted or arrested.

Why it matters: Media reports and the former president's own comments signal that an indictment from the Manhattan district attorney's office could be imminent, with Trump urging supporters to "[p]rotest, take our nation back!"

Driving the news: At a press conference to kick off House Republicans' annual retreat in Orlando, Florida, McCarthy told reporters: "I don't think people should protest this, no."

  • The House speaker also defended Trump, arguing he "doesn't believe that either" and is "not talking in a harmful way," though he said the two of them haven't actually spoken about the matter.
  • "Nobody should harm one another in this. ... We want calmness out there," McCarthy said. "I do not believe there should be any violence [in response] to this."

The intrigue: McCarthy joins a surprising hardline House Republican also discouraging protests — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

  • "We don't need to protest," Greene tweeted on Saturday, arguing that Democrats are "sealing their own fate" in the 2024 election if Trump is indicted.

The backdrop: The local prosecutors are investigating whether Trump violated campaign finance laws with hush money payments he allegedly paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

  • McCarthy has slammed the probe, led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, as politically motivated and said he will direct House committees to investigate whether Bragg's office is using federal funds to conduct the investigation.
  • McCarthy revealed at the press conference that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, would take charge of the probe.
  • "I talked to Chairman Jim Jordan today, I think you’ll see action tomorrow," he said.
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