Colorado politicians react to Trump guilty verdict

Trump Fraud Lawsuit
Former President Donald Trump, waits for the continuation of his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, POOL)

Updated at 8:43 a.m. on Friday, May 33, 2024.

Reactions from Colorado’s politicians and congressional candidates to former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict Thursday fell along predictably partisan lines.

Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert called the jury’s verdict “election interference” on the social media site X.

“As we all knew, this was ALWAYS about election interference and stopping President Trump from winning his rightful re-election to the White House. The American people see through the Democrat games and know this is a sham verdict,” she wrote.

Boebert, an ardent Trump supporter, went to Manhattan to attend part of his hush money trial earlier this month, missing votes on the House floor later that day. After the verdict, she also quickly sent out a fundraising email bashing the trial as a “sham” and a “scam.”

GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn said he supports Trump appealing the decision. 

“The verdict reached today is a horrific miscarriage of justice. Today is a dark day in American history. The weaponization of our justice system is something Americans should not have to fear,” he wrote on X.

Colorado GOP chair Dave Williams, who is also running the GOP primary for the 5th Congressional District, criticized what he described as a “rigged” verdict in an email from the party account. 

“This is a constitutional crisis and another troubling example of the weaponization of the legal system against law-abiding citizens. This entire process, from start to verdict, has been rigged and a disgraceful political maneuver by desperate Democrats who know crooked Joe Biden is losing the 2024 election,” wrote Williams. 

Dave DieterCPR News
The scene outside the courthouse in Manhattan, N.Y., after Donald Trump was found guilty by a jury on 34 criminal felony counts, May 30, 2024.

Numerous other Republican congressional hopefuls were also quick to weigh in on the verdict via posts on X.

“We now have a two-tiered justice system, depending upon your politics. It's shameful, and is NOT the justice system I served as a cop. Like many Americans, this process and verdict motivates me more than ever to defeat Joe Biden,” wrote state Rep. Gabe Evans, who is running for the GOP nomination in the 8th Congressional District.

In the 3rd Congressional District race, candidate Jeff Hurd called it "a sad day for America" and said the verdict will only divide the country further. His fellow candidate, Stephen Varela, called the verdict "tragic" and a mockery of the justice system. Russ Andrews, who's also running for the Republican nomination in the district wrote, “these scam trials are a desperate attempt by the Democrats to shift focus from their own failures. It is an outrage.”

While Deborah Flora, who's running in the crowed 4th Congressional District GOP primary, said whether someone supports Trump or not, "this unprecedented and deeply flawed case should trouble every American....Equal justice under the law is a bedrock of our freedoms."

Trump was found guilty on all counts by a Manhattan jury of falsifying records to cover up hush money payments to avoid a sex scandal before his 2016 election.

Dave DieterCPR News
The scene outside the courthouse in Manhattan, N.Y., after Donald Trump was found guilty by a jury on 34 criminal felony counts, May 30, 2024.

Colorado Democrats pointed to the verdict as evidence that no one, including a former president, is above the law.

“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn. No one is above the law, and today’s ruling is a step towards ensuring that no American can exploit our legal system for personal gain,” said Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette in a statement. She also praised the jurors for doing their civic duty.

And Democratic Rep. Brittany Pettersen said in a statement that, "the rule of law is foundational to our democracy and everyone, even a former president, should be held accountable if they break the law. While it's a difficult day in American history, it's a reminder of the importance of our checks and balances."

Dem Sen. Michael Bennet said the verdict shows Trump is not fit to hold the office of the presidency.

“Our kids deserve political leaders who are role models and respect the rule of law,”  Bennet wrote on X.

Democratic Rep. Jason Crow described it as a somber moment.

“A jury heard the evidence, weighed the arguments, and unanimously decided to convict,” he said on X. “Trump has repeatedly disregarded the law. But in America nobody is above or below the law, even a former president.”

Gov. Jared Polis echoed that sentiment: "Coloradans have faith in our justice system and the guilty convictions from a jury of his peers show the former President lacks the moral capacity to lead our country."

The head of the Colorado Democratic Party, Shad Murib, reacted to the verdict with a wider attack against the presumed Republican presidential nominee, “Donald Trump's grievance campaign is a dangerous threat to our country given his pledge to be a dictator 'on day one', give the wealthy even bigger handouts, and strip away our freedoms."

Trisha Calvarese, who is running as the Democratic nominee in the special election to fill the rest of former Congressman Ken Buck’s final term, as well as in the Democratic primary to represent the district in the next Congress, said on social media, “Say it with me. No one is above the law.”

Among voters, fear and triumph

At a park in suburban Denver Thursday evening, the people who had come out for a sunset stroll may have shared the same walking paths, but their feelings about the day’s news diverged sharply.

“It should concern any American that this is what's happening to our country. And they should feel scared, because their rights are on the verge of being taken away,” said Zach, a Trump supporter who didn't want to give his last name.

“It's clearly a political game against the former president. And I think it's terrible because everyone can see it's a witch hunt, and everyone can see that he's being targeted by the liberal party,  just for their own political gain,” he said.

But while the verdict deepened Zach’s distrust in the political and judicial systems, it had the opposite effect on Denver resident Kate Larson.

“I think it's important that every single elected official is held accountable for their actions. No one's above the law. I mean, that's really what we were founded on, right? Is that, the king is not above the law, that we have a true democracy,” said Larson.

She continued, “to be able to say, ‘look, our laws still matter and they apply to everyone,’ to me just says that my government is actually watching out for everyone.”

Neither Larson — who opposes Trump — or Zach — who's long supported him — said the verdict will have any effect on their personal views on the election. But while emotions were running high for those who'd followed the trial, a lot of people out walking Thursday evening said they just hadn't paid enough attention to have much of a view at all on its outcome.

CPR's Megan Verlee contributed to this report.