Republicans have long proclaimed themselves the party of “law and order.”

That political philosophy, however, doesn’t seem to have extended to the historic criminal trial of Donald Trump that ended this week in a first-ever conviction of a former president — 34 guilty verdicts handed down by 12 ordinary Americans.

Conservative allies of their party’s presumptive presidential nominee didn’t miss a beat jumping to his defense, or echoing his denouncement of the case as “rigged.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson called it “a shameful day in American history” and claimed the trial was a “political” exercise, not a legal one. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the other leading Republican on Capitol Hill, asserted the charges levied against Trump “never should have been brought in the first place.”

Trump’s legal challenges have been rejected so far, but he still can appeal and has vowed to do so. Yet, many GOP members of Congress continue to parrot Trump’s falsehoods about the trial and the American legal system more broadly.

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik said — despite a jury deciding — that the trial’s outcome showed how “corrupt, rigged, and unAmerican the weaponized justice system has become under Joe Biden and Democrats.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the influential House Judiciary Committee, is demanding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and prosecutor Matthew Coangelo testify before Congress, alleging “political persecution.” And a group of GOP senators are vowing to block any of Biden’s agenda from passing in response, they say, to his making a “mockery of the rule of law.”

“I don’t really see how you can have it both ways, to claim to be the party of law and order and then to denounce trials that don’t come out the way you want them to,” William Galston, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, told ABC News about the Republican response.

PHOTO: Doug Burgum, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy  look on as former President Donald Trump talks to the media outside Manhattan criminal court in New York, May 14, 2024.

Doug Burgum, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy look on as former President Donald Trump talks to the media outside Manhattan criminal court in New York, May 14, 2024.

Curtis Means/AP

In the New York trial, Trump’s attacks are largely geared toward the district attorney, the judge and the jury — all of which he’s claimed are unfairly politically biased against him. He and other Republicans have taken aim at Bragg being an elected Democrat, and the jury being made up of residents of a liberal-leaning city.

Their ire also extends to President Joe Biden, whom Trump has claimed, without evidence, was behind the prosecution despite the case being handled entirely at the state level.

“These are bad people,” Trump said in grievance-filled remarks at Trump Tower the morning after his conviction. “These are, in many cases, I believe, sick people.”

President Biden, in his own remarks later that day from the White House, pushed back that the rule of law was “reaffirmed” and statements questioning the legitimacy of the process were “reckless” and “dangerous.”

“[Trump’s] attacks on the judicial system have a long history and are part of a larger strategy to undermine the legitimacy of any aspect of the political system or process that criticizes him or tries to hold him accountable for his actions,” Lisa Miller, a political science professor at Rutgers University who specializes in crime research, told ABC News.

“As far as I am aware, the process in New York followed the same rules of evidence and procedure as any other criminal trial and the defense has just as much opportunity to select the jurors as the prosecution,” Miller continued. “By all accounts, the judge was fair-minded and even-handed. It serves only Donald Trump to say otherwise.”

Galston agreed, saying in his view “the process of the trial stayed within normal bounds.”

“There was a normal and impartial jury selection process,” he said. “Each side could reject people for cause and had a certain number of peremptory challenges. There hasn’t been a whisper of jury misconduct, which is relatively rare in such high-profile cases.”

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump holds a press conference following the verdict in his hush-money trial at Trump Tower on May 31, 2024 in New York City.

Former President Donald Trump holds a press conference following the verdict in his hush-money trial at Trump Tower on May 31, 2024 in New York City.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trump has been leading the charge in decrying not only the hush-money case, but the other three indictments against him, including federal cases levying more serious allegations of conspiracy to defraud the United States and willful retention of national defense information. Trump has denied any alleged wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty in every case.

In each circumstance, he and his conservative allies have pointed to what they claim is a corrupt justice system as the real culprit of wrongdoing.

The statements, experts said, are likely to have a harmful effect on the nation’s confidence in bedrock American principles.

“Unfortunately, a lot of damage has already been inflicted on public trust in American institutions,” Galston said. “Certainly trust in Congress has been at rock bottom. The presidency isn’t doing so well. The judiciary enjoyed a good measure of public trust and confidence a lot longer than other institutions did, but that’s been falling for some time and I’m afraid that this will add momentum to the decline.”



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