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Reactions to the verdict in the hush money trial against Donald Trump in California

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The conviction of former President Donald Trump on Thursday sparked an avalanche of reactions from some of California's leading politicians in the hours after the jury announced its historic verdict.

As the most populous state in the U.S. and a Democratic stronghold, the Golden State has been the cradle of the Democratic-led MAGA opposition since the 2016 election. Although the state has a Democratic supermajority, some Republican-held districts are likely to be among the closest and most decisive races in the battle for control of the House of Representatives. What impact Trump's conviction will have on these districts is currently unclear, but a steady stream of comments from Republican and Democratic party leaders may provide insight into how the ruling will affect campaign messages aimed at undecided and moderate voters.

More: Trump guilty, what now? Why the verdict is not the most shocking part of the trial

Republican and Democratic party leaders in California comment on Trump's verdict

Jessica Millan Patterson, chairwoman of the California Republican Party, called the decision a “black day” and spoke of a “politically motivated process by an extremely left-wing district attorney” in a statement released a few hours after Trump's guilty verdict on 32 counts was read out.

“Despite Democrat-led efforts to interfere in the presidential election, Americans will have the final say this November when they re-elect President Trump and send him back to the White House to fix the many mistakes of the Biden administration and put our nation on the path to success,” Patterson said.

The allegations of election interference, voter fraud and other forms of fraud spread by Trump and his allies in the Republican Party have been repeatedly refuted by independent experts and election officials.

More: Don't be fooled: 5 types of misinformation we expect this election season

The chairman of the state Democratic Party, Rusty Hicks, also released a statement on the verdict, striking a jubilant tone that was in stark contrast to Patterson's “black day.”

“Today, the people of New York have passed a guilty verdict and made Donald Trump a convicted felon,” Hicks said in a Statement on X“In November, the American people will make him a double loser in the presidential election. And California Democrats will do their part to make it happen.”

Candidates for the US Senate seat in California: Schiff and Garvey

In the race for the late Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat in California, Trump's shadow is casting a large shadow over Republican candidate Steve Garvey, who has repeatedly refused to make clear his support for the former president. While Trump is a potential poison pill for the Republican candidate in deep-blue California, he has long been a political rallying cry for his opponent.

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) catapulted himself onto the national stage by leading the charge in Trump's first impeachment trial. In debates before the March 5 primary, he mentioned Trump's name frequently, echoing the sentiments of many other leading Democrats who positioned themselves as a bulwark against Trump and MAGA Republicanism.

More: Trump found guilty in hush money trial ahead of party convention and election in November. What happens next?

More: What impact will the guilty verdict against Donald Trump have on his re-election? Will there be political consequences for him?

Schiff celebrated the Manhattan jury's decision in a post on X (formerly Twitter) a few minutes after the verdict was announced.

“Today, 12 ordinary American citizens found a former president guilty of dozens of crimes,” Schiff said in Thursday's post“Despite his efforts to distract, delay and deny, Donald Trump still received justice. And the rule of law prevailed.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Garvey had not made any public comment on the verdict.

California House of Representatives members use social media

Republican Tom McClintock, who represents the 5th Congressional District in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills, said the ruling “perverts the rule of law.” In his post on X, he called the prosecutor “toxically partisan” and the jury “contaminated.”

Republican Doug LaMalfa called it a “miscarriage of justice,” echoing McClintock and Patterson in calling the prosecution biased. He even went a step further, claiming that the judge “deliberately manipulated the entire process” to ensure a guilty verdict.

Democrat Eric Swallwell said on social media The platform said on Thursday that Trump's conviction was a victory for the rule of law and for “the idea that we all follow the same rules.”

One of the two leading Democrats in the California House of Representatives, Representative Ted Lieu, said on X: “In America, no one is above the law: not the rich, not the powerful, and certainly not a former President of the United States.”

Kathryn Palmer is an elections writer for USA TODAY. Reach her at kapalmer@gannett.com and follow her on X at @KathrynPlmr.

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