Republican candidates revealed Wednesday night if they would support former President Donald Trump if he were “convicted in a court of law,” with some delaying raising their hand — including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who looked around first — and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson among those who refused to make that pledge.
“You all signed a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee. If former President Trump is convicted in a court of law, would you still support him as your party’s choice? Please raise your hand if you would,” Bret Baier asked the eight candidates on the stage.
Anti-woke businessman Vivek Ramaswamy was the first candidate to raise his hand, followed by several others including former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — an action which prompted cheers.
DeSantis could be seen glancing over toward Ramaswamy’s side of the debate stage and proceeded to raise his hand after four of his challengers already did. At that point, former Vice President Mike Pence raised his hand, followed by a hesitant former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christi, who later asserted he did not raise his hand. Hutchinson did not raise his hand.
Every candidate on stage except for Asa Hutchinson says that they would support Donald Trump in the general election, even if he was "convicted in a court of law."
Chris Christie retracts his hand raise a moment later, indicating that he wasn't really raising his hand. pic.twitter.com/oVG7gJlp7p
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 24, 2023
“WOW – Ron had to check out the rest of the stage to decide whether or not to raise his hand. Pathetic!” Trump War Room exclaimed as others made similar observations.
WOW – Ron had to check out the rest of the stage to decide whether or not to raise his hand.
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) August 24, 2023
DeSantis literally looked around to make sure it was safe to raise his hand!
— Brenden Dilley (@WarlordDilley) August 24, 2023
Ron DeSantis didn’t raise his hand right away when the candidates were asked if they’d still support Trump if he was convicted.
He paused and looked at other candidates before he raised his hand.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 24, 2023
Wow. That was weird. Moderator just asked if Trump were the nominee and he were convicted, would you support him, raise your hand. A bunch of hands went up. DeSantis looked around first, then raised his hand. Terrible.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) August 24, 2023
Every Republican except for Christie and Hutchinson said they would support Trump if he were convicted. DeSantis looked around first to see how others answered and then raised his hand late. A very humiliating moment.
— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) August 24, 2023
Hutchinson defended his decision to leave his hand down, reasserting his belief that Trump is “morally disqualified from being president again as a result of what happened on January 6.”
“More people are understanding the importance of that including conservative legal scholars, who says he may be disqualified under the 14th Amendment from being president again, as a result of the insurrection. This is something that could disqualify him under our rules, and under the Constitution, and so obviously I’m not going to support somebody who’s been convicted of a serious felony,” Hutchinson, who has called on Trump to drop out of the race on more than one occasion, added.