House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Sunday that Americans should not take to the streets if former President Donald Trump is indicted for his role in a hush money scheme to an adult film star.
“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy said in response to reporters’ questions at the start of Republicans’ annual retreat in Orlando, Florida. “We want calmness out there.”
McCarthy made the comments a day after Trump predicted he would be arrested as part of a long-running investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg. Bragg has signaled in recent days his office may soon file charges against Trump, a historic moment and the first time a former president would be indicted on criminal charges.
Trump on Saturday called for his supporters to protest and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK,” a missive some critics say harkened back to his rhetoric before the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol.
The House speaker, a fierce defender of the former president, appeared to reject those assertions Sunday, saying Trump’s calls for protests weren’t actually calls for protests.
“I think President Trump, if you talked to him, doesn’t believe that either,” McCarthy said. “He’s not talking in a harmful way, and nobody should.”
“The last thing we want … is somebody putting their thumb on the scale simply because they don’t agree with somebody else’s political view,” McCarthy added. “That is what’s wrong, and that’s what infuriates people.”
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported Sunday that Trump is “very anxious” ahead of the possible indictment. She reported last week his campaign is preparing to lambast Bragg and the prosecutors in his office should charges be filed.