Home » Nearly All of Trump’s Rivals Said They’d Still Support Him Even if He’s Convicted

Nearly All of Trump’s Rivals Said They’d Still Support Him Even if He’s Convicted

Mother Jones illustration; Morry Gash/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Donald Trump may have skipped the first Republican presidential debate. But nearly one hour into the televised event on Wednesday, the issue of the former president’s four indictments, and whether the eight candidates on the debate stage would support his candidacy should he be convicted, took center stage.

“If former president Trump is convicted in a court of law, would you still support him as your party’s choice?” Fox News moderator Bret Baier asked during the debate’s portion intended to address the “elephant not in the room.” Baier then asked the candidates to raise their hands to confirm their support.

The first hand to shoot up belonged to Vivek Ramaswamy, the self-funding, 38-year-old amateur rapper. What followed was a strange rollout of five more hands, some appearing more reluctant than others, indicating they too would support a convicted, four-times indicted, twice-impeached loser for the presidency. That included Mike Pence.

Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson declined.

As the Trump portion continued, Christie extended his ongoing condemnation of Trump’s actions on January 6 while defending Pence for refusing to accede to the former president’s demands to unilaterally reject his defeat against Joe Biden. “Whether or not you believe that the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of the President of the United States,” Christie said, seemingly undeterred by the repeated boos from the audience. 

Meanwhile, Trump, who refused to show up for the debate, made up for his absence with Jeffrey Epstein conspiracy theories.


August 2023