Many GOP voters remain undeterred by new Trump indictment

While most view Trump’s Jan. 6 charges as serious, many GOP voters remain loyal.

August 5, 2023, 9:21 PM

Despite a majority of Americans believing Tuesday's indictment against former President Donald Trump regarding Jan. 6 is serious, many GOP voters are disregarding the charges and continuing to support Trump.

A slight majority (51%) of Americans view the federal indictment against Trump in connection with his attempts to overturn his election loss in 2020 as very serious, the highest figure yet of the three indictments against him, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll found. Another 14% of Americans said the indictment is somewhat serious. Additionally, a plurality of Americans (49%) said Trump should end his presidential campaign, while 36% said he should not.

PHOTO: Media members prepare for the arrival of former President Donald Trump, who is facing federal charges in connection with attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat, at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Aug. 3, 2023.
Media members prepare for the arrival of former President Donald Trump, who is facing federal charges in connection with attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat, at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Aug. 3, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Although most Americans view the indictment as serious, some GOP voters disagree, calling the charges a politically motivated attack to keep Trump out of office.

One such voter is Brad Bulla, who is from Williamson County, Tennessee, and says he will likely vote for Trump in 2024. He called the indictment an "injustice" and "a ploy to keep [Trump] out of the election."

"When one [indictment] comes one after another after another, and we see the unbalanced or two tiers of justice that apparently seem to be functioning in this country, it distresses me," he said.

James Robertson, who is an Alabama voter and the vice chair of Conecuh County Republican Party, dismissed the indictments as a "tragedy" and "witch hunt." He downplayed Trump's role in Jan. 6, saying the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building was driven by individuals upset by the 2020 election.

"From everything I've seen, that wasn't an insurrection," Robertson said. "It certainly wasn't an attempt to overthrow the government. It was obviously a bunch of people and not orchestrated by the President, who were and still are frustrated by the fact that they stole the election."

Scott Beason, who is a former Alabama state senator and now works as a local talk show host, suggested the indictments have only united the Trump base, saying that Tuesday's charge "garners him more and more support."

Ty Nannet is a retired mechanic for an airline and a John Deere dealer from Indiana. He voted for Trump twice and said he will vote for him again despite the indictments. He suggested Trump's opponents are using the charges to impede his electability.

"They're trying their very best they can to keep him from running," Nannet said. "Because they know they can't beat him."

But not all GOP voters who spoke with ABC News feel this way.

Hall Haselton, a Tennessee voter born and raised in Nashville, said that although he "respects" Trump's view that the indictments constitute a "witch hunt," he believes the legal system should ultimately be allowed to run its course and that he does not support the former president being elected to a second term.

"We know that he's a liar. We know he wants all the credit for everything that went right," he said. "He wants no blame for everything that went wrong."

"He has no core. He has no heart. He's got a brain, but it's turned in the wrong direction," he said. "Donald Trump is not what this country needs."

The indictment includes four felony charges against Trump: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights. The former president pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment Thursday.

Prosecutors repeatedly have defended the integrity of their work.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the case against Trump, emphasized the legitimacy of the charges during remarks on Tuesday.

"The indictment was issued by a grand jury of citizens here in the District of Columbia and it sets forth the crimes charged in detail," Smith said. "I encourage everyone to read it in full."

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday also defended Smith's work, emphasizing that the charges against the former president are grounded in the law.

"Mr. Smith and his team of experienced and principled career agents and prosecutors have followed the facts and the law wherever they lead," Garland said. "Any questions about this matter will have to be answered by the filings made in the courtroom."

Trump's claims of election fraud have been struck down in the courts and the 2020 election was certified.

ABC News' Libby Cathey, Soo Rin Kim and Kendall Ross contributed to this report.