Republican presidential nominees slam Trump: ‘He is a testy child’

Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses his supporters as he formally announces his intention to run for the Republican nomination for president June 7, 2023 in Ankeny, Iowa.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Several Republican presidential candidates for 2024 criticized Donald Trump on Sunday as the former president faces 37 federal indictments over alleged document hoarding after he left the White House.

Following his indictment, Trump has cracked down on his critics, including former associates, calling his former Attorney General Bill Barr a “gutless swine” and his former Chief of Staff John Kelly “weak” and “VERY small ‘brain.'”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who announced his candidacy for president earlier this month, said Trump’s remarks suggest he is the “worst manager in the history of the American presidency.”

“He’s a testy kid when someone disagrees with him,” Christie said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence said it was “premature” to say whether or not he would pardon Trump if convicted. Pence said Wednesday he could not defend the criminal charges against Trump, but added Sunday that he doesn’t know why many Republicans think he will be found guilty.

“All we know is what the President is accused of in the indictment,” Pence told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “It makes me sad that we are in this moment now.”

Pence questioned Trump’s commitment to conservative principles, saying he was “turning away” from his pro-abortion stance and that his position on the national debt was “identical” to President Joe Biden’s.

He added that he had hoped Trump would “move to accepting the 2020 election results,” which Trump has repeatedly claimed were stolen.

“No one above the Constitution should ever be President of the United States,” Pence said.

Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor who is also a presidential candidate, said he doubts Trump will be able to pardon himself if re-elected.

“I doubt it. I don’t think that’s what the Constitution intends in giving the president the power to pardon,” Hutchinson said on ABC’s This Week, later adding that a self-pardon would be “inappropriate” and “unbecoming.” doing is “exactly what[Trump]would intend if he were elected president.”

Hutchinson also said he would not accept the Republican National Committee’s pledge of support for the incoming Republican presidential nominee as a condition of attending the debate stage.

“I will not, like other voters will not, endorse anyone for president who is under indictment and may be convicted at this time,” said the Arkansas Republican.

But Trump on Sunday had a supporter in Republican presidential nominee Vivek Ramaswamy, who said the former president should be pardoned if convicted. The biopharmaceutical entrepreneur called for the dissolution of institutions like the Federal Bureau of Investigation over so-called “political stances.”

The agency is “a formula for corruption,” Ramaswamy told Fox News Sunday, for allegedly threatening Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights era or persecuting “political conservatives” like Trump.

“This is about standing up for principles rather than politics,” he said.

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