The Tennessean: Trump conviction: How Tennessee lawmakers are reacting to the historic verdict

The Tennessean

By Vivian Jones

June 1, 2024

Tennessee Republicans — including Gov. Bill Lee — expressed outrage Thursday after a jury in New York found former President Donald Trump guilty in a hush money case, while Democrats began celebrating the historic decision.

Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors alleged that the former president falsified business records to hide a hush money payment of $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Jurors found Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts. The verdict was announced shortly after 4 p.m. CT.

In response to the verdict, Tennessee Republican officials reiterated their support for the former president’s bid for the White House.

“A politicized justice system does nothing to serve the American people,” Lee, the current chair of Republican Governors Association, said in a social media post. “Voters in Tennessee and across the country recognize this verdict for what it is — a political attack — and they’ll bring a change on Election Day in November.”

State Sen. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, was the first Republican to share a reaction to the news on social media, pledging continued support for the convicted former president.

“I stand with President Trump and look forward to him once again being elected as our President later this year,” White said. “The American people will speak loudly in rejection of the partisan lawfare engaged in by the Biden Administration and its supporters.”

Blackburn, Hagerty slam jury’s decision

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, who is rumored to be a possible choice as Trump’s running mate, painted the verdict as political persecution and election interference.

“Joe Biden and the radical Left have made it clear they will do anything they can to keep President @realDonaldTrump out of the White House. This should frighten every American,” Blackburn wrote.

In another post, Blackburn characterized the entire proceeding as a “total witch hunt.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty declared it a “dark day for American democracy.” Speaking at an event in Texas, Hagerty called the trial “a sham,” saying the charges are “made up,” and a veiled effort to keep Trump off the campaign trail.

“It’s a shame that America has come to this, that you get a result like this from a kangaroo court,” Hagerty said, alleging prosecutorial misconduct and judicial misconduct. “I think Americans can see this as what it is: this is lawfare. … It’s a new political strategy, you try to damage your political opponent so you don’t have to beat your opponent at the ballot box, you can beat them in a courtroom in a jurisdiction that you choose.”

In a separate post, Hagerty shared a fundraising link in support of the former president.

U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Columbia, who had traveled to New York for a news conference outside the courthouse during the trial, called the decision “an embarrassment.”

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff called the conviction “a manufactured distraction from the 2024 election.”

“There is no doubt that this has been a partisan process every step of the way,” Kustoff wrote. “Our nation should be concerned with the two-tiered, partisan system of justice that we have all witnessed in New York.”

Tennessee House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, predicted that Trump will win in November.

“The Left literally galvanized more independent and democrat voters to vote Republican than ever in the history of American politics,” Faison wrote in a post.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, wrote “this is what Democrats do to their political enemies.”