We asked Missouri’s Republican leaders if convictions would affect their support of former pres. Trump

Some office-holders maintain unshaken endorsement of Trump’s 2024 campaign
Missouri's top elected offices are all occupied by Republicans, including Secretary of State...
Missouri's top elected offices are all occupied by Republicans, including Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (left), Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe (center), and Attorney General Andrew Bailey (right).(KMOV)
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:48 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Until former Pres. Donald Trump, no U.S. president has ever been indicted on criminal charges. As multiple criminal and civil cases work their way through the federal and state courts, Trump has already been found liable for sexual abuse and defamation in civil court, and a New York Supreme Court judge issued a summary judgment that Trump committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets.

Many Republican elected officials continue to voice support for the former president’s 2024 campaign, even as Trump dismisses each of the criminal charges and civil complaints against him as “election interference.”

Meanwhile, many other Republicans have receded from speaking publicly about Trump and instead focused their public comments on attacking Pres. Joe Biden and his administration.

The Missouri Capitol Bureau sent the state’s top elected officials, as well as the state’s Republican congressional delegation, the following email to ask about their current level of support for the former president and whether a conviction in one or more of the pending cases against him would affect that support.

Good morning from Gray TV (Missouri Capitol Bureau):

We are collecting responses from the candidates/officeholders about their current level of support for former Pres. Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy -- and how that support would be affected by convictions in one or more of the following cases against him:

If you can please provide your answers to each case so we can get a sense of which ones you consider to be more or less troubling, that would be much appreciated.


None of the responses the bureau received directly addressed the evidence contained within the criminal indictments nor the civil complaints.

No respondent addressed the cases respective from one another, instead, most issued a blanket dismissal of all cases as being “politically motivated.”

Some pointed to recent polling, much of which indicates an increase of support for Trump amid the litany of legal action.

Some respondents also shifted their focus to President Joe Biden’s administration, implying that the cases were brought to serve as a distraction from “his dire economy.”

None of the officials who responded to the bureau’s questions implied that convictions or judgment in one or more of the cases against Trump would alter their level of support for him. Some outright said such outcomes would not have any effect on their support.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe:

Kehoe is running for Governor as a Republican.

He declined to address the individual cases against former president Trump, but confirmed to the bureau that Kehoe will “be caucusing for him in Iowa.”

Sec. of State Jay Ashcroft:

Ashcroft is running for Governor as a Republican.

He did not address former President Trump in his answer nor any of the criminal or civil cases against him.

Ashcroft’s response reads in full:

“No amount of lawfare can hide the feckless President we have and his dire economy. I will stand with the Republican nominee, full stop.”

Attorney General Andrew Bailey:

Bailey is running for election to the office to which he was appointed by Gov. Mike Parson. Bailey brands himself as the first statewide official in Missouri to officially endorse Trump’s return to the White House.

He also did not respond directly to the bureau’s questions nor address the evidence contained within the indictments. Instead, the AG criticized the media for reporting about the criminal and civil cases against the former president.

Bailey’s reply reads:

“The media should be reporting on the obvious two-tiered criminal justice system, with different standards being applied to Joe Biden’s political opponents, namely President Trump.”

State Treasurer Vivek Malek:

Malek is also running for the office to which Gov. Mike Parson appointed him. He, like Ashcroft, didn’t confirm support for Trump specifically.

Notably, Malek’s justification for supporting Trump didn’t rest on policy or a claim of innocence, but on polling and Republican voters’ perception of the cases.

Malek wrote:

“I think from most of the polls that I have seen, President Trump is very likely to be the Republican nominee in 2024. It is clear to voters that these court cases are a political witch hunt, and the fact that our courts are being so misused should be alarming to every American. As a Republican, I will stand behind the Republican nominee.”

Congressman Eric Burlison:

Burlison has been an outspoken supporter of the former president, despite the legal issues Trump faces.

While Burlison, like the others, didn’t address the respective cases nor the evidence contained in the indictments. He instead, painted them all as “attacks, smears and witch hunts.”

Burlison’s statement reads in full:

“I stand with President Trump and look forward to working with him to drain the Swamp. Since announcing his first run for President in 2015, he has endured an onslaught of attacks, smears, and witch hunts.

From the Russia Hoax to the ongoing ridiculous lawsuits, the Swamp has consistently tried to take him down with lies and deception. Donald Trump is a patriotic American who puts America first, that is why he is so vehemently hated by bureaucrats and the political establishment of both parties.”

No response was received from Gov. Mike Parson, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, U.S. Rep. U.S. Rep. Alford, U.S. Rep. Smith, U.S. Rep. Luetkemeyer, U.S. Rep. Graves, U.S. Rep. Wagner, U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt nor U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.