Kari Lake’s vow to defend Trump with guns threatens democracy, Democrat says

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Arizona Republican Kari Lake’s vow of armed resistance against Donald Trump’s indictment for keeping classified records “threatens the very heart of our democracy,” a Democratic congressman from Arizona has said.

Related: Feared Republican rhetoric after Trump indictment could spark violence

Ruben Gallego is a candidate to replace former Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the US Senate next year.

He said: “I know this language isn’t just hyperbole – it’s dangerous and it threatens the very heart of our democracy.”

The 38-count federal indictment against Trump was unsealed on Friday. He is due to appear in Florida court on Tuesday. Jack Smith, the special counsel, told reporters he would “demand a speedy trial”.

Trump was already in unprecedented legal danger. He and other Republicans responded to the Espionage Act indictment with inflammatory rhetoric.

Lake, a TV news anchor turned far-right firebrand, lost Arizona’s gubernatorial election last year. She continues to insist without proof that her defeat was the result of fraud.

Speaking to Republicans in Georgia on Friday, she said: “I have a message tonight for [US attorney general] Merrick Garland, Jack Smith and Joe Biden. And guys out there in fake media, you should listen too, this one’s for you.

“If you want to get to President Trump, you’re going to have to go through me, and you’re going to have to go through 75 million Americans like me.

“And I’ll tell you most of us are NRA cardholders. [National Rifle Association]. It’s not a threat – it’s a public service announcement.

“We won’t let you put your finger on President Trump. Frankly, now is the time to hang on to our guns and our religion.

Lake was speaking in place of Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president who escaped the crowd Trump sent to the Capitol on Jan. 6, some of whom chanted to hang him, to preside over certification of Biden’s election victory. .

Pence is now a candidate for the Republican nomination, but like everyone else, he trails Trump by wide margins, as the former president ruthlessly capitalizes on — and successfully monetizes — the various charges leveled against him.

Trump faces criminal charges at the state level, in New York for a silent payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, and at the federal level, for his retention of classified records and obstruction of movement to secure their return .

In a civil lawsuit in New York found liable for sexual assault and defamation of writer E Jean Carroll, he was ordered to pay $5 million.

Also slated to be indicted for his election subversion, at the Georgia state and federal level in an investigation also overseen by Smith, Trump denies wrongdoing.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lake’s remarks in Columbus on Friday were met with a standing ovation.

Related: Nuclear weapon secrets in the bathroom: Five revelations from Trump’s unsealed indictment

Responding to a reporter, Lake tweeted“I meant what I said.”

Gallego said: “As a Marine who has gone all the way to Iraq to defend this country, our democracy and our freedoms, I know that this language is not just hyperbole – it is dangerous and it threatens the very heart of our democracy.”

He also said Lake “owes all America-loving Arizonans an apology” because the state rejected “his off-the-beaten-path rhetoric that only sows doubt in our election.”

But Lake remains an enthusiastic Trump ally, seen by some as a possible choice for the vice-presidential job. On Friday, she said she was “more than willing to fill Mike Pence’s shoes.”

Like Trump, who features on a song merging his voice with those of imprisoned Capitol rioters, Lake released a single. Its title, 81 million votes my ass, refers to Biden’s winning total.

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