Washington Republicans, Democrats react to Trump’s guilty verdict

May 30, 2024, 5:55 PM | Updated: May 31, 2024, 4:46 am

Image: Former President Donald Trump walks to make comments to members of the media after a jury co...

Former President Donald Trump walks to make comments to members of the media after a jury convicted him of felony crimes for falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Pool photo: Seth Wenig via AP)

(Pool photo: Seth Wenig via AP)

Donald Trump was found guilty, on Thursday, of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex. The historic verdict makes him the first former president to be convicted.

Tiffany Smiley reacts to Trump’s guilty verdict

However, Trump supporters in Washington are still backing him despite the guilty verdict. They include candidate for Congressional District Four Tiffany Smiley.

“I think the American people know, they’re not stupid, that it’s Donald Trump today and it could be us tomorrow,” Smiley told “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH.

Joe Kent provides his opinions on the verdict

Joe Kent, a retired 20-year veteran, is running for Congress in Washington’s third Congressional District as a Republican. He spoke to Jason Rantz of “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH shortly after the verdict was read Thursday and had a strong negative reaction to what he saw unfold.

“Unfortunately, it’s not surprising, but it is the death of our justice system, which has been historically up this point probably the fairest and freest justice system in the history of the world,” Kent said. “And so this is regardless of how you feel about President Trump. And this is an absolute tragedy.”

Kent went on to say that he believes Democrats are weaponizing the justice system and, as someone who served overseas in the military, saw third-world countries conduct similar actions. He also doesn’t think this will help that political party.

“I don’t think this is gonna work in the Democrats’ favor at all. This is only gonna make President Trump even stronger. But it’s a sad day for the American people,” Kent added.

The congressional candidate went on to say that he hopes the appeals process plays out in Trump’s favor. But he still believes this result doesn’t put the country in the most positive light.

“This entire thing is just put on full display just where we are, right now, as a country,” Kent stated. “And look, even if you despise Donald Trump and you really support Joe Biden, you should be outraged right now because this is taking away the ability for President Trump to get out there and to campaign.”

Washington Democrats release statement

However, the Washington State Democratic Party released a statement with an opposing view. Democrats called the former president a “convicted felon,” who’s “wholly unfit to lead our nation.”

“His conviction today by a jury of his peers demonstrates the lengths convicted felon Trump will go to and the laws he will break to get what he wants — another four years of power at the expense of hard-working Americans. The Washington State Democratic Party will never stop fighting for a more perfect union, which is why we will continue to resist Donald Trump’s campaign of lies, grift, and autocratic desires with every fiber of our being every minute of every day until the election is over and we have prevented the end of democracy … again,” said the statement.

UW professor weighs in on Trump’s guilty verdict

KIRO Newsradio spoke with Randy Pepple, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington.

Will the verdict move the needle for Trump’s campaign?

“No, because the election we had before is going to be decided by 3% of the people who don’t have an opinion right now, and if they are not paying enough attention to have an opinion about either Joe Biden or Donald Trump at this point in time I’m not quite sure that a verdict in a New York trial necessarily makes them make up their mind,” he said.

But what is the Republican party’s reaction likely to be?

“The reaction to Trump is separate from the Republican party. The people who follow Trump right now are following him, it’s much more of a cult personality. It has very little to do with the political party that was based on conservative principles, and I don’t think this has much impact on those people who were already inclined to vote for Trump,” Pepple shared. “Those who are looking at it from a conservative perspective going ‘We cannot nominate for president of our party a convicted felon.’ That’s going to fall on deaf ears unfortunately because the people who are in charge of the Republican party right now, from the Republican National Committee on down, are committed to Trump not to the Republican party.”

Will the verdict affect Washington at all?

“Washington is going to cast its electoral votes for President Biden, much as the state has done for the last 40 years. Donald Trump is not going to depend on Washington state for anything except for some money perhaps. So, this doesn’t have any impact on our voters, except to perhaps charge up activists even more to work against it,” Pepple explained.

How significant is Trump’s guilty verdict?

“I think the Rubicon was crossed during the 2016 campaign when Donald Trump was taken seriously as a candidate because he had no qualifications to become a candidate for President,” Pepple shared.

Pepple also noted the deciding voters are more worried about money than than a felon for a president.

“This election for president is going to be decided by 100,000 votes in six states and those voters, depending on which way they vote, will determine whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump is president,” he said. “This verdict is not necessarily going to matter to those 100,000 people. They’re more worried about their pocketbook, they’re worried about inflation and that’s what Joe Biden has to overcome to win those people over.”

Contributing: Charlie Harger, KIRO Newsradio; The Associated Press

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, or email him here.

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Washington Republicans, Democrats react to Trump’s guilty verdict