Last week, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) appeared on CNN and signaled he wasn’t terribly concerned about what lay ahead for Donald Trump in the case in which Trump has now been indicted and pleaded not guilty.

“I don’t look at the actions that he has taken that are being investigated,” Buck said, “as much as his role as a former president and what his policies were.”

On Tuesday, Buck sang a decidedly different tune on the same network. Ahead of Trump’s first court appearance, he called the allegations against Trump related to alleged document mishandling “very serious.” The former local prosecutor and current House Freedom Caucus member added that if Trump is convicted, “I certainly won’t support a convicted felon for the White House.”

CNN’s Dana Bash: ‘Given the allegations… would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump as president again?’

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO): ‘I would not feel comfortable with a convicted felon in the White House…’

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 13, 2023

Buck’s evolution on this question highlights a party that remains overwhelmingly in Trump’s corner but has increasingly sprinkled in notes of uncertainty and concern about the indictment — along with the allegations contained within.

Perhaps the most significant movement on that front came Monday, when two of Trump’s 2024 opponents — Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley — each qualified their criticisms of the legal process with concerns about the gravity of Trump’s alleged conduct. Former Trump secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who opted not to run for president, added even tougher comments Tuesday.

None of this means the GOP is suddenly turning on Trump, or anything close to it. We’ve seen over and over again how certain will Republicans decide that Trump has finally gone too far and suggest as much, only to pull back when the party base stays in his camp. The most striking example is the Jan. 6 insurrection, after which Haley and others attempted a full break from Trump and later reversed course.

But very few are defending Trump on the merits, and we’re starting to see more concern than was expressed, say, after the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last summer.

Below is a rundown of who is raising red flags thus far. They include two former high-ranking Trump Cabinet officials, four 2024 GOP opponents and even some House Republicans who have generally been allied with Trump.

Scott: “This case is a serious case with serious allegations, but in America you are still innocent until proven guilty.”

Haley: “If this indictment is true, if what it says is actually the case, President Trump was incredibly reckless with our national security. This puts all of our military men and women in danger if you’re going to talk about what our military is capable of or how we would about invading or doing something with one of our enemies. And if that’s the case, it’s reckless, it’s frustrating and it causes problems.”

Former Trump secretary of state Mike Pompeo: “If the allegations are true, President Trump had classified documents where he shouldn’t have had them, and then when given the opportunity to return them he chose not to do that for whatever reason. … That’s inconsistent with protecting America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. And if allegations are true, some of these were pretty serious, important documents.”

Former Trump attorney general William P. Barr: “If even half of it is true, then he’s toast. It’s a very detailed indictment, and it’s very, very damning.”

Former New Jersey governor and 2024 presidential candidate Chris Christie: “A very tight, very detailed, evidence-laden indictment, and the conduct in there is awful.”

Former Arkansas governor and 2024 presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson: “Trump’s actions — from his willful disregard for the Constitution to his disrespect for the rule of law — should not define our nation or the Republican Party.”

Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.): “They’re very serious allegations.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “The charges in this case are quite serious and cannot be casually dismissed. Mishandling classified documents is a federal crime because it can expose national secrets, as well as the sources and methods they were obtained through.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah): “Mr. Trump brought these charges upon himself by not only taking classified documents, but by refusing to simply return them when given numerous opportunities to do so.”

Buck: “I think the allegations are very serious. I think there were national security implications from having documents in an unsecure area. … He hid documents, purposefully putting them in a shower, purposely putting them on — on a stage. So there — there clearly is an intent to hide.”

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) on whether he would support Trump if convicted: “I’d just have to read the conviction, but no, honestly, on the surface, I wouldn’t. That doesn’t look good.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.): “I just think it’s obvious what the president did was wrong. I just think the emperor has no clothes, and we need to have Republicans stand up and say that, because come around after the primary … the other party’s going to be saying this.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.): “It’s very problematic. There’s a reason I’m not commenting on it.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

Comments are closed.