(The Hill) – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) “cowardly” response to former President Trump’s indictment last week in New York City.
In a tweet after the indictment was announced on Thursday, DeSantis called the charges against Trump “un-American” and said his state would not assist in any extradition request of Trump, who is expected to voluntarily surrender this week.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” Psaki asked Schiff, a member of a now-defunct House panel investigating the Jan 6., 2021 attack at the Capitol, about DeSantis’ tweet.
“He certainly knows better about the law. He knows what his obligation is to extradite someone who is accused of crime in another state. He’s not a stupid person and he understands this very well,” Schiff told Psaki.
DeSantis graduated from Harvard Law School and was a lawyer in the Navy before being elected to Congress in 2012.
Schiff, who officially launched his bid for retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) seat in January, said that DeSantis is putting his political ambition over any “principle” or “scruple” on the matter.
“You know, I’m reminded of something Adam Kinzinger, my colleague in the January 6th Committee said when he said, it’s not that he and Liz Cheney are so courageous, it’s just that they’re surrounded by cowards,” he added.
“And this is kind of a cowardly action by Ron DeSantis to try to compete with Donald Trump on Trump’s own turf,” Schiff added.
Kinzinger, a former Republican representative from Illinois, and Cheney, a former GOP house member from Wyoming, were both members of the Jan. 6 select committee and outspoken critics of Trump. Cheney lost her seat to a Trump-backed candidate, while Kinzinger decided against running for reelection.
A New York grand jury voted to indict Trump on Thursday for his alleged role in organizing a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.
DeSantis was among the many GOP figures who quickly attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).
“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American,” DeSantis wrote in his tweet.
However, it remains unclear what charges the former president is facing, as the indictment remains sealed.
Trump, who announced his third bid to run for president at his Mar-a-Lago estate in November, is now the first current or former president to face criminal charges.
DeSantis is seen as a top GOP rival to Trump in the 2024 GOP primary. The Florida governor has indicated that an official announcement on a presidential run will not come until after his state’s legislative session is over later this year.