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Reactions from politicians in the Bay Area and Northern California

Former President Donald Trump appears during jury deliberations in his hush money criminal trial in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)

The blanket convictions of former President Donald Trump on Thursday were met with a mixture of shock, jubilation and sober reflection by politicians and political organizations across the Bay Area and Northern California.

Politicians across the region reacted quickly and often harshly as America entered a new era with the first conviction of a former president. Many local Democrats celebrated the jury's decision to find Trump guilty on 34 counts related to hush-money payments before the 2016 presidential election, while others – including Rep. Anna Eshoo, who represents much of Silicon Valley – simply called it a “sobering moment.”

“Donald Trump is a convicted felon,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from the East Bay. “This verdict is not a victory for one person. It is a victory for an idea. The idea that we all follow the same rules. The rule of law won today.”

“Guilty,” wrote U.S. Representative Adam Schiff on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The Democrat from California was the lead representative during Trump's first impeachment trial and is also in a runoff election for one of the state's two U.S. Senate seats in November. “Today, 12 ordinary American citizens found a former president guilty of dozens of crimes. Despite his efforts to distract, delay, and deny, Donald Trump still received justice. And the rule of law prevailed.”

But California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan derided the ruling as “a black day for our legal system and our nation” and said the country's voters would overlook the ruling at the ballot box in the fall.

“From the beginning, this was a politically motivated case brought by a far-left district attorney,” Millan's statement said. “Despite Democrat-led efforts to influence the presidential election, Americans will have the final say in November when they re-elect President Trump and send him to the White House to fix the many failures of the Biden administration and put our nation on the path to success.”

The surprise verdict – the first of its kind in the country's history – came after a New York jury deliberated for 9.5 hours after hearing weeks of testimony about whether the former president falsified tax records to illegally influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The outcome of the trial leaves Trump facing prison time when he is sentenced on July 11 – an unprecedented prospect in American politics, as Trump is also the leading Republican candidate for the White House in this fall's presidential election.

Several Republicans reacted with disgust to the jury's decision. Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, a former vice chair of the California Republican Party, called the verdict “a disgrace” and said she was “ashamed” of the legal system in New York, where she began her legal career three decades ago.

“If they can do this to the leading presidential candidate, they can do this to any of us,” Dhillon tweeted. “The verdict should be overturned on appeal and I'm voting TRUMP! Are you in?”

Caitlyn Jenner, a longtime Republican who unsuccessfully fought to replace Governor Gavin Newsom in the 2021 recall election, posted a photo of her and Trump embracing on X, adding in all caps: “The only verdict that matters is the vote of us, the people of the USA, on November 5, 2024!”

Still, many politicians in the Bay Area, which has always been governed by Democrats, spoke of the unprecedented nature of Thursday's ruling and said Trump was facing a reckoning that had been years in the making.

“I commend the brave public servants who performed their civic duty under extraordinary circumstances,” said US Representative Barbara Lee in a tweet. “Even a former president must be brought to justice.”

“I said it in 2018 and I say it today: No one is above the law,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, who represents Marin County and much of Northern California's coastal communities.

California Senator Alex Padilla added in his own social media post: “In the United States of America, no one is above the law – not even a former president.” His California colleague Laphonza Butler made a similar statement on Twitter, saying: “Today's ruling proves that our country is a country based on the rule of law and that no one will continue to be above it.”

Check back later for updates on this breaking story.

Bay Area News Group reporters Kate Talerico, Nollyanne Delacruz, Grace Hase and John Woolfolk and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Anna Harden

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