In the wake of Tuesday’s verdict in the civil trial of former President Donald Trump that found he had sexually abused and defamed writer E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s, a handful of prominent Republicans voiced their dismay that he could once again represent the party in the 2024 presidential election.
While many Republicans — like former Vice President Mike Pence — defended Trump following the verdict, a notable number did not.
Here’s a rundown of those in the GOP who were comfortable expressing their belief that the jury’s decision to side with Carroll and award her $5 million is yet another sign that the party should nominate someone else to take on President Biden.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
In a Wednesday interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump confidant turned outspoken critic, took aim at Trump’s claim that he had “no idea who this woman is.”
“And look, you know, his response, to me, was ridiculous, that he didn’t even know the woman. I mean, you know, how many coincidences are we going to have here with Donald Trump, Brian? I mean, he must be the unluckiest SOB in the world,” said Christie, who is exploring a possible campaign against Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination.
“He just has random people who he has never met before who are able to convince a jury that he sexually abused them? I mean, this guy. It is one person after another, one woman after another. The stories just continue to pile up. And I think we all know he’s not unlucky and that he engaged in this kind of conduct.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a candidate against Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, called the former president’s actions “indefensible.”
“Over the course of my over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, I have seen firsthand how a cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire,” he said, according to The Hill.
“The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump,” said Hutchinson, who, like Christie, is also a former U.S. attorney.
Sen. Mitt Romney
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah has been among Trump’s staunchest GOP critics, and he saw Tuesday’s verdict as one more example of a pattern of behavior that justifies that stance.
“I hope the American people, the jury of the American people, reach the same conclusion as the jury of his peers, which is that Donald Trump should not be our nominee and he certainly shouldn’t be president of the United States,” Romney told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “We have other people who are highly qualified that could lead our party to victory, and someone who’s been found to have committed sexual assault should not be the face of the Republican Party.
“I think that there will be some people, surely, who say, ‘You know, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have someone who’s been convicted of sexual assault to be the face for my children and my grandchildren and the world,'” Romney added.
Sen. Bill Cassidy
Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told reporters that the verdict was another red flag about nominating Trump in 2024.
“Of course it creates a concern. How could it not create a concern? If what the woman says … he’s been found to be civilly liable, how could it do anything else but create a concern?” Cassidy said.
Sen. John Thune
An ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said the verdict against Trump was part of a “cumulative effect to just the constant drama and chaos that always seems to surround him.”
Sen. Mike Rounds
“You never liked to hear that a former president has been found — in a civil court — guilty of those types of actions,” Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota told reporters Tuesday. “It focuses a lot of us on what we’ve been saying for some time now, which is we are looking for an individual to lead this party forward in a united method and we’re looking forward to those individuals coming forward.”
Sen. John Cornyn
Setting aside the testimony given by multiple women about Trump’s sexual abuse, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas saw the verdict as confirmation that the former president would not be able to win a second term.
“The fact is, I do not think he could win the presidency,” Cornyn told reporters on Capitol Hill. “Regardless of what you think about him as an individual, to me, electability is … the sole criterion.”