House Democrat leadership staff have reportedly been telling offices that they do not have to weigh in on former President Donald Trump’s indictment, as one member said there is a “high risk” of him “becoming a victim.”
Despite there being some Democrats who were overjoyed at Trump being arraigned on Tuesday, Axios reported that a Democratic leadership aide said, “House Democratic leadership staff has been counseling offices that there’s no expectation for them to weigh in publicly.”
The aide noted that leadership wants offices not to take any risk if they feel inclined to say something but to focus on basic messaging such as “nobody is above the law.” In fact, Axios noted that “guidance on messaging” over the two-week recess period advised members to focus on “President Biden’s policy agenda and attacking GOP plans on the abortion and the budget.”
Axios noted that some Democrats are worried that making statements about Trump, especially statements that are overzealous, could fuel the Republicans’ pushing the narrative that the indictment is politically motivated.
“I think we all have to be very careful. There is a high risk of Donald Trump becoming a victim,” one House Democrat told Axios. “We don’t need to put kerosene on a fire.”
The report noted that Rep. Greg Landsman (D-OH) made a statement last Friday on Trump’s indictment, stating, “Folks need to be done with Trump … [we] have to keep our attention on the actual work of leading this country.” Axios noted that Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) stated that many of her colleagues are aligned with Landsman and that her party “need[s] to be focused on what the issues are.”
“There isn’t a role for Congress in this,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), a former Trump impeachment manager, who’s retiring from Congress in June. “You will see Democrats stay very focused on the things that matter in people’s lives. I think most people are beyond Donald Trump … [and are not] following these legal proceedings.”
On the other hand, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) appeared in front of the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday to have a counter-protest to those who support Trump. Noting that his constituents fueled his response, Bowman said in an interview with Spectrum News in New York, “From what I’ve been hearing throughout my district, New Yorkers are happy about this indictment.”