Trump’s Conviction Sparks GOP Civil War Ahead of Election

Donald Trump’s latest legal battle has ignited a new front in his quest for re-election. Just minutes after being found guilty on all 34 felony counts on Thursday, a person close to the former president described this moment as a “civil war” within the Republican Party.

Trump’s campaign is using his historic criminal conviction as a litmus test for GOP politicians, forcing them to choose between defending the former president and upholding America’s legal system. It appears they can’t do both.

The divide became apparent last night when Larry Hogan, a moderate Republican running for an open Senate seat in Maryland, took to social media to urge all Americans to “respect the verdict and the legal process.”

Within minutes, Chris LaCivita, a top official on Trump’s campaign, responded pointedly: “You just ended your campaign.” The message was clear: any Republican not standing with Trump on this issue is politically doomed.

When I asked a different Republican official who had worked on Trump’s last presidential campaign whether he agreed that this moment marked a “civil war” within the party, he dismissed the notion. To him, any internal conflict was settled long ago in favor of Donald Trump.

“Even if you don’t like Trump, he’s better than what we’ve got in Joe Biden,” he said. “It’s an easy choice.” This sentiment seems to be widely shared among Republican politicians, at least publicly.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson called Thursday “a shameful day in American history” and described Trump’s conviction as “a purely political exercise, not a legal one.” Steve Scalise, another top Republican in Congress, likened the U.S. legal system to that of a banana republic. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis compared the trial to a “kangaroo court.”

But the fiercest defense of the former president came from Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who in 2016 was one of Trump’s most vocal critics during their battle for the Republican nomination.

“This is a quintessential show trial,” Rubio stated. “This is what you see in communist countries. This is what I grew up hearing about from the [Cuban exile] community. It happened in the days following the Castro revolution.”

Rubio’s comparison of America’s justice system—with its independent juries, open trials, and adherence to the rule of law—to that of communist Cuba will shock many Americans. He isn’t just suggesting that the jurors made an incorrect decision in finding Trump guilty. He is making a sweeping denunciation of America’s legal system as a whole.

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