‘I Don’t Think He Can Get Elected’: GOP Senator Slams Trump After Sexual Abuse Verdict
Donald Trump was found liable for sexual battery and defamation against author E. Jean Carroll — and Republicans can’t decide if that makes him more or less electable.
In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, Trump handled the decision as expected — with an all caps Truth Social post attacking Carroll. GOP lawmakers, however, were split as to whether or not sexual battery, even if in civil court, was an egregious enough conviction to kill their support for Trump.
“I don’t think he can get elected,” Texas Senator John Cornyn told CBS News in his reaction to the verdict, adding that he does not think “[Trump] can win the presidency regardless of what you think about him as an individual.”
According to Raw Story, who attempted to secure comment from lawmakers in the Capitol, several Senators simply turned around and walked away from their reporters when questioned.
But a slew of lawmakers have given public comment on the matter, even if several responded with what amounted to a noncommittal shrug when asked if they could continue to support a candidate who’d been ordered to pay a woman $5 million over sexual assault and defamation allegations.
“Obviously I’d rather have a president that isn’t found liable for battery,” said North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, “it’s not a disqualifier, but it’s certainly not a check in the plus column.”
“I don’t know the facts. It’s a New York jury, too,” said Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) when asked if he could support Trump following the verdict.
On the tail end of a Fox appearance discussing the federal debt limit negotiations, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) was gut-checked by host Neil Cavuto about his reaction to Trump being found liable for defamation and battery.
Hagerty rambled about the southern border, the economy, and Joe Biden’s lack of leadership before giving a defense of the former president. “This has been going on for years. And he has been amazing in his ability to weather these sorts of attacks, and the American public has been amazing in their support for him,” he said.
Several of Trump’s loyalists reiterated Trump’s own claims that Carroll had fabricated her accusations against the former president.
“When it comes to Donald Trump, the New York legal system is off the rails,” tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
“The jury is a joke. The whole case is a joke,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “If someone accuses me of raping them and I didn’t do it, and you’re innocent, of course you’re going to say something about it…it was a joke.”
Sen. Tommy Tuberville said the whole ordeal made him “want to vote for [Trump] twice.”
“They’re going to do anything they can to keep him from winning. It ain’t gonna work,” Tuberville said, “people are gonna see through the lines, a New York jury, he had no chance.”
“People who love Trump, love Trump. People who hate Trump, hate Trump. It’s not going to make a difference,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.). She added, “It just kind of validates what Trump haters think of him. People who love him have seen him go through things like this before, they don’t seem to care.”
But several Senators aligned themselves with Cornyn, outright telling reporters that Trump was not fit for another term in office.
Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, said “the jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump.”
“I hope the jury of the American people reach the same conclusion about Donald Trump, he just is not suited to be the president of the United States,” said Utah Senator Mitt Romney.
The verdict against Trump in Carroll’s civil lawsuit was just the beginning of an avalanche of legal issues for the former president, who is facing criminal charges in New York. Grand juries in Georgia and Washington, D.C. are also weighing charges against the former president for his role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.