Right-wing media react to report of Trump's indictment

The New York Times has reported that a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict former President Donald Trump for his role in paying hush money to Stormy Daniels, citing four sources. The paper notes that the indictment is currently under seal and will be announced in coming days. Right-wing media had loudly complained about the looming indictment in recent weeks, in particular focusing their ire on Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney. Below are key examples of Fox News and other right-wing media reactions to the report.

This report will be continually updated throughout the evening of March 30.

On Fox News, the report was met on air with audible gasps.

Fox host Jesse Watters called the indictment a “disgrace” and said the country would not stand for it.

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' The Five 

SANDRA SMITH (HOST): We're going to break in with this Fox News alert here. We've have just gotten word former president Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury in New York. Trump was under investigation by the D.A.'s office for his alleged hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign. 


JESSE WATTERS (HOST): This is a disgrace, and I think it takes about a week to get the logistics in, so he'll come up and he will get fingerprinted. And they'll get a mug shot and then they'll plaster that mug shot all over the country for the next two years and run against a criminal, and that's what this is all about. 

No one wanted this, not even the left wanted this. But now I'm thinking Bragg got embarrassed because everything you heard over the last 48 hours is they were just going to put this to bed and take a break for a month. So, I don't know if there was pressure put on him because his numbers went up, in the last couple of weeks when this thing swirled. 

So, maybe the left's calculating, that indicting this guy is going to get him the nomination and they think he's easier to beat. But, I wouldn't be so sure about that because there's going to be a major rally around the flag feeling. I'm starting to feel it right now. I'm angry about it. I don't like it. The country's not going to stand for it. And people better be careful, and that's all I'll say about that.

Watters also suggested Trump was indicted for “sex.”

Fox host Greg Gutfeld called Bragg “the MAGA Republican of the year,” telling Trump to make his mugshot his campaign poster.

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' The Five

GREG GUTFELD (HOST): This is how it has to be. This guarantees his nomination. Alvin Bragg is the MAGA Republican of the year. He just got Trump's nomination. I think if there is a mug shot, which there will be, you've got to own it. That's got to be the poster. He's an O.G., right? He's a bad ass if he's got a mug shot. You might as well go right into it and the thing is, you know, his poll numbers have gone up with this. I just think this is going to make sure he is going to be on the ticket, and to your point, they made that gamble in 2016, they thought that he would lose to Hillary and he didn't.

Rumble host Donald Trump Jr. called the indictment “communist-level shit.”

Outkick’s Clay Travis called it a part of Democrats’ “unprecedented authoritarian attacks” and claimed the indictment is the beginning of them turning this country into “a third world, banana republic.”

image of tweet from Clay Travis

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton called the indictment an “act of pure corruption and election rigging.”

image of tweet from Tom Fitton

Trump's son Eric Trump called the indictment “third world prosecutorial misconduct” and “the opportunistic targeting of a political opponent in a campaign year.”

image of tweet from Eric trump

Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk complained about Bragg, adding: “WITCH HUNT!!”

Alvin Bragg lowered 52% of criminal charges in NYC last year to misdemeanors. He just bent over backwards legally to raise the charges against Trump to a felony.   WITCH HUNT!!

Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis said the court was “weaponizing the justice system against a political opponent” and that “no one deserves to be politically prosecuted.”

On War Room, conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec said that “every single red-blooded American is about to get activated peacefully and patriotically.”

Podcaster Liz Wheeler claimed that Trump's indictment was meant to “distract from a transgender mass shooter.”

Right-wing commentator Bernard Kerik claimed the indictment means that “we have just become a Third World banana republic!”

Former Real America's Voice host David Brody claimed that “the left just made Donald Trump a political martyr as well as the 47th President of the United States.”

Conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza — who knows a thing or two about being indicted — said Trump was indicted “on manifestly bogus charges” and speculated, “Are we officially living in a banana republic?”

Fox News' Leo Terrell said Trump had “two Politically motivated impeachments and now a political prosecution” but is “more popular than ever before.”

Newsmax’s John Cardillo called the indictment “a constitutional crisis” and claimed that “we are watching the political weaponization of our entire criminal justice system.”

Breitbart's Joel Pollack called the indictment “an assault on democracy far worse than the Capitol riot.”

The Federalist's David Marcus claimed the indictment is “absolutely political persecution of Donald Trump."

Conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer called it “a dark day in America” and claimed that “the DOJ & Manhattan DA have declared war on President Trump and his supporters.”

Trump Jr. said that the “radical left” is trying “to interfere in the 2024 election to stop Trump” and that “the only solution is to shove it down their throats and put him back in the White House!!!”

Turning Point USA's Benny Johnson: “Democrats just turned Donald Trump into Tupac.”

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani called it “a sad day for America.”

Conservative commentator Will Chamberlain claimed that “this will end with multiple Bidens in federal prison.”

Right-wing digital strategist and former Daily Caller staffer Logan Hall alluded that there would be “retribution" "soon.”

Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier warned, “We will come for Joe and his son when they leave office. Just wait.”

Watters said, “I don’t think the Left understands what they’re getting themselves into” because this indictment “really lights a fire under this country.”

Fox News’ Jonathan Turley called the indictment of Trump a “raw political prosecution."

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier 

BRET BAIER (HOST): It is quite something to see this moment and it's really historic this moment that we're facing. 

JONATHAN TURLEY (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): It is. It's historic. It's not necessarily good history that is being made. It's not that I oppose the indictment of a former president. I don't even oppose the indictment of a sitting president on constitutional basis. But this indictment, if it is reportedly following the theory that we've been talking about is political. It's a raw political prosecution. 

Some posts on pro-Trump message boards are threatening violence.

Conservative influencer Rogan O’Handley, who goes by “DC Draino,” claimed that the indictment is meant to “distract everyone” from “the whole Trans Terrorist thing."

Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway likened Trump's indictment to Stalinist Russia.

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY (FOX CONTRIBUTOR): Well, it's a very dark day. One of the things that we cared about in this country for a very long time was to be a nation ruled by law and not by men. This ushers in what will probably be a very dark era of political persecution and prosecution, the type that we normally associate with the Soviet Union or with banana republics.

You know, during the Stalin era, it was common to say, "Show me the man and I'll find you the crime." It didn't matter, you know, whether someone had broken any law. They would figure out a way to charge and convict them of that, for political opponents. And you see this all the time in Third World countries where political opponents who are deemed a threat to the current regime are charged with crimes.

This is not good for this country. It is very sad. You know, in Washington in D.C., these are towns consumed, really obsessed, with hatred for President Trump and the movement that he ushered in. Many Americans of all sorts of different political persuasions love this country. We want to be ruled by law. We don't want to see this type of political prosecution.

And it is, you know, it is election interference, and it is something that is, you know -- people who care about the country need to stand up and make sure that they let it be known that they do not support this type of political prosecution.

Watters suggested that “fair citizen[s] of ... this country” should not live in “Democrat-run cities anymore” because “if you're political, they'll bring false charges against you.”

On Telegram, QAnon-supporting accounts The Patriot Voice and BioClandestine claimed the indictment made Trump “a political martyr.”

image of telegram posts from qanon accounts

Pro-Trump commentator Matt Schlapp said Trump's indictment had “corrupted the judicial system and lost the trust of millions.”

Fox News host Dan Bongino claimed that the indictment of Trump is proof that “we're living in a police state.” Watters also said to Bongino, "You’re looking a little emotional. I feel the same way.”

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime

JESSE WATTERS (HOST): Dan, you're looking a little emotional. I feel the same way. How do you feel?

DAN BONGINO (CONTRIBUTOR): Listen, I don't really feel right right now living in this police state. I mean, we're in a police state. I'm not even arguing this with the liberal zeros out there who watch this network all the time. I mean, some of them their only job is to watch our shows which is kind of humiliating but that's for another day. It's not open for debate that we live in a police state.

In private pro-Trump Facebook groups, some users have called for others to “#RiseUp” or claimed that the indictment has started — or brought us close to — a “civil war.”

image of facebook posts

Watters resorted to body-shaming Bragg.

Watters reiterated that Trump was being prosecuted “over sex,” saying that today will “go down as a dark day for America.”

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime

JESSE WATTERS (HOST): For the first time in American history, a former president has been indicted. This day will go down as a dark day for America. President Trump's been indicted by New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg for a private civil settlement he made with a woman seven years ago. Bragg's star witnesses, Michael Cohen, a convicted felon and disbarred lawyer, and Stormy Daniels, a porn actress, who begged for hush money and worked with Michael Avenatti, another convicted felon who just so happened to get women to falsely accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. 

So where's the crime? A lawyer settled a civil case with a woman? How many civil cases has Bill Clinton settled with women? How many civil cases have members of Congress settled with women? We were told by the Democrats in the media that your private life's your private life. Everything was consensual. Now all of a sudden consensual is a felony? 

And they're literally prosecuting the former president over sex? Sex which Donald Trump denies? He claims he was extorted. The left has been saying they want to get the government out of the bedroom. They just kicked down the bedroom door.

Watters also called for revenge on Democrats “the next time a Republican gets in the White House”

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime

JESSE WATTERS (HOST): In terms of Republican response, you're hearing from House Republicans they're going to bring Bragg out to the Capitol and they got subpoenas flying. OK, fine.

But what happens the next time a Republican gets in the White House? Are we going to start prosecuting Democrats the way they prosecute Republicans? Because you hear a lot of so-called classy Republicans say, “Oh, you know we can't do this, we can't do that. We're better than that." Well, are we? Where do we go from here? 

Watters said that the timing of the indictment “reeks,” adding that "a couple days ago, you had a trans mass shooter and then all of the sudden, after we heard that the grand jury is going home for a month, they drop this?”

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime 

JESSE WATTTERS (HOST): The timing reeks. You have -- you're kind of on the precipice of a little mini recession. The markets a little shaky right now, tons of layoffs. Big spring offensive about to happen in Ukraine. Russia does look like they have momentum there. The Chinese are aligning with our former allies in the Middle East. A lot of people are moving to the wan.

Last week you had bank records coming out that said that the President lied and his family did get paid millions by Chinese communist spies. All of this is happening. A couple days ago, you had a trans mass shooter and then all of the sudden, after we heard that the grand jury is going home for a month, they drop this? This seems -- 

JEANINE PIRRO (GUEST): Yeah, well, okay. You say the President lied. Look, the President lied when he was running for office, Joe Biden did. 

During a news read with Fox “straight news” anchor Trace Gallagher, the chyron on the screen read “Third World Banana Republic.”

Fox host Tucker Carlson appeared to hint at violence.

Carlson also claimed that the indictment was more of an “assault on our system” than the attack on January 6.

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): If you believe in our system and you want it to continue, you have to raise your hand and say stop. Because this is too great an assault on our system, much greater than anything we saw on January 6, that's for certain.

Carlson said there would be “retaliation from red states.”

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): So, no matter what happens next, we can be certain there is no coming back from this moment. There could be retaliation from red states. The governor of Florida has already said -- Ron DeSantis already issued a statement saying that he will not participate in any extradition of Donald Trump to New York.

Glenn Beck appeared on Carlson's show and pushed some very Glenn Beck-ish conspiracy theories.

Carlson also hosted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who “was convicted in 2011 on 17 corruption charges. Some involved soliciting bribes in exchange for the U.S. Senate seat vacated upon President Barack Obama’s inauguration, while others dealt with schemes in which he demanded campaign donations in exchange for signing racetrack legislation, approving a transportation project, and approving funding for doctors at a hospital." Trump would later pardon him.

Speaking with Carlson, BlazeTV host Jason Whitlock claimed that Democrats were “agitating for unrest” with the indictment.

Eric Trump told Fox host Sean Hannity that his father “deserves a pass.”

Fox host Mark Levin said the indictment was indicative of tyranny.

Levin elaborated on his radio show.

Fox host Mark Levin calls Trump indictment “a grotesque, Stalinist, Maoist-type action”

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Westwood One’s The Mark Levin Show

MARK LEVIN (HOST): I’m not on tonight, because I just spent two hours for President Trump at Mar-a-Lago interviewing him for my Sunday Fox show. Then I left, and within an hour I hear on the radio about this outrageous action by the Soros -prosecutor in Manhattan. I don’t like this phrase, “The first president ever indicted,” that’s exactly what they want, they want the mugshot. But, I will tell you this, as a nation we’ve now turned the corner. We’ve turned the corner into a hard tyranny — that a former president could be indicted, really, over absolute nonsense.

And the fact that they’ve had four grand juries functioning, one in Manhattan, two in Atlanta — well, I guess it’s five — two in Washington, D.C. — all these Democrat, heavy Democrat cities, demonstrates to you that we’ve now crossed the Rubicon into tyranny. We have completely out-of-control prosecutors and investigators. And what’s interesting is, if Lee Zeldin had been elected the governor of New York, his first act, he told us, was to fire Alvin Bragg. Well, you can see why.

And if Democrats are cheering, this is what people need to understand. That the Democrat Party is the party of totalitarianism, that’s what it is. Murderers, rapists, in the front door, out the back door. But if you’re a Republican or if you’re a Trump supporter, anything of that sort, well then of course they’re going to hunt you down and they’re going to do whatever they have to do. Democrat grand juries, Democrat juries, Democrat prosecutors, Democrat judges, and no care at all for the country. The party comes first. So, this is a grave turn. I don’t know that we will ever come out of this now, where a precedent has been set that local prosecutors can charge politicians, particularly a former president like this. It’s a completely bogus case, I’ve looked at it backwards and forwards. It’ll probably give inspiration to the Democrat prosecutor in Atlanta, an inspiration to the Democrat phony special counsel in Washington, D.C. And, I just want the audience to know that we are staring in the face of tyranny, that the Democrat Party is a totalitarian party. Donald Trump should never have been criminally investigated by Mueller, he should never have been impeached twice. He should never have faced these kinds of investigations, which are preposterous. And, so this is a very, very serious matter, the way this has been done.

And all this talk about "the grand jury’s gone for a month," obviously that was subterfuge, that was a cover-up. Because they knew they were going to bring this, whatever this is, it's still under seal, in order to — I guess they did it for quote-unquote "security reasons." But rather than the first president or former president ever indicted, I think the headline here, and it’s a big headline, is "America has gone tyrannical." And the Democrat Party has dragged us there because they never accepted the Trump presidency, they never accepted his existence. He stood in Hillary’s way, he stood in Obama’s way, and they are simply not going to tolerate that. If you’re a Republican like a [former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)] or a [Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH)] or a [former Gov. Larry Hogan (R_MD)], or whomever, you’re going to do just fine because you’re just a figurehead, you’re not going to fight hard to reverse the course of what the Democrats have done to this country. They’ll just slow-roll you, and that’ll be that. But in a matter like this, this is how difficult it is to beat Washington, to beat the administrative state, to beat the Republican establishment.

This is a grotesque, grotesque, Stalinist, Maoist-type action. You’ve got a multibillionaire who’s behind it, [philanthropist George Soros]. You’ve got an intellectually corrupt prosecutor — we have prosecutors running for office, running to get votes by saying they’re going to get Trump, they’re going to indict Trump. This guy did it, and the attorney general of New York did it. You are not safe in a blue state, you are not safe in a blue city, that’s the bottom line. But there’s really nowhere else to go.

Levin also appeared on Hannity, saying that the indictment was a “declaration of war.”

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Citation From the March 30, 2023, edition of Fox News' Hannity

MARK LEVIN (CONTRIBUTOR): This is a party that is out of control. Their DAs are out of control. Alvin Bragg should be disbarred. Rather than wringing our hands, let's take some action. The DA in Atlanta, she needs to be disbarred. The guy that is running the investigation in Washington, D.C. -- His family is bloated with Obama Democrats. Jack the Ripper Smith, his ass should be dragged in front of a committee in Congress whether he likes it or not. And he should be subpoenaed too.

It's time for the Republican Party to understand that this is a war on the party. It is a war on conservatism and MAGA. It is an effort -- an effort! -- to ensure that Donald Trump can never be President again.

Fox News host Pete Hegseth said that Trump's mugshot would be iconic.

Fox host Laura Ingraham blamed President Joe Biden for now somehow stopping the indictment.