Jen Psaki warned Democrats on Sunday that, despite their possibly pressing urges, they shouldn’t do “exactly what Trump and his supporters would do” and celebrate the former president’s indictment.
“As much as you may want to, now is not the time for a mass order of lock-him-up T-shirts and mugs – that’s exactly what Trump and his supporters would do,” the MSNBC host said on Sunday’s “Inside With Jen Psaki.” “Now is also not the time for Democratic candidates to celebrate, to brag, to predict the outcome of the legal cases. If you can, I’d actually just put your head down and stay out of it for now.”
Of course, there have been a whole lineup of elected Republican officials decrying Donald Trump’s indictment by the Manhattan DA as an act of political aggression against their party. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, as Pskai pointed out, a whopping 90% of Republicans see the move from DA Alvin Bragg as politically motivated; 70% of independents agree along with 30% of Democrats.
“It doesn’t really matter that that is based entirely on the phony claims by leading Republicans,” Psaki said of the poll’s results. “But the thing is, there’s absolutely nothing to gain by adding more fuel to that fire.”
Currently, that fire is being fueled by the likes of House speaker Kevin McCarthy, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Trump himself.
“Democrats might feel the urge to shout it from the rooftops and use it to score political points. And if they’re watching Republicans on the other side, that’s exactly what they’re doing,” Psaki said. “Trump himself took to Truth Social to call the indictment an ‘attack on our country’ and ‘our once free and fair elections’ – no irony at all there. And then there was Ron DeSantis who called it ‘weaponization of the legal system.’ Speaker Kevin McCarthy claimed Alvin Bragg ‘weaponized our sacred system of justice.’ Even Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the supposed post-Trump future of the Republican Party, rushed out with a similar statement of his own.”
So why are they running to Trump’s defense, despite mounting division between their politics and, in the case of DeSantis, a likely presidential bid in 2024?
“To me, this is all peer projection,” Psaki explained. “To me, the only people who are weaponizing and are politicizing what shouldn’t be a political process at all are these leading Republicans. And they’re doing this for one reason: Because Donald Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party. If you had any doubt, their following him this past week confirmed that. And they’re scared of losing the support of his base.”
Psaki concluded that instead of following the impulse “to celebrate, to brag, to predict the outcome of the legal cases,” Democrats should follow the lead of President Biden and the White House, who are leaning “into the longstanding policy that they don’t comment on ongoing criminal investigations.”
Otherwise, “stick with the frame that has been in the statements of a number of Democratic leaders,” she added. “One: No one is above the law. That’s how our country works. Two: Trump will be able to avail himself of the legal system. And 3: There should be no intimidation, and any protest should be peaceful. That is how the judicial system is supposed to work. And a functioning judicial system is vital to a thriving democracy. The defense of those values is also part of how Democrats held onto the Senate and came close to holding onto the House in November. It turns out defending democracy and the rule of law is not only morally right, it’s good politics, too.”
Watch the full “Inside With Jen Psaki” segment in the video above.