DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Kim Reynolds, Chuck Grassley, and Joni Ernst didn’t know what criminal charges former president Donald Trump would officially face on Tuesday. But they all defended him and criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the case against the former president.

Longtime Iowa State University political science professor Steffen Schmidt says that Trump remains the most popular Republican presidential candidate according to the polls right now and most Republican politicians aren’t likely to criticize him. “I think it’s solidarity,” Schmidt said.

The charges against Trump become public on Tuesday when he is formally charged in New York. But the district attorney has been investigating whether Trump broke any laws when he paid former adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 before the 2016 presidential election.

Schmidt questions how much the investigation will have on Republicans’ opinions of Trump. “It might have been some sort of obtuse and complicated campaign finance laws that were violated…which most Americans…number one…don’t know anything about and number two…don’t care anything about.”

Republican elected officials, Schmidt contends, not only understand Trump’s popularity with the base but also know that he could be the most likely nominee for the party in 2024. So there is little upside to criticizing Trump now, Schmidt said. “Donald Trump doesn’t take lack of loyalty very easily and he does have a substantial base.”

Here is how Iowa Republicans responded last week following reports that Trump would be criminally charged:

Governor Kim Reynolds (via emailed statement):

“This sham indictment only serves as a reminder to Americans that there is a two-tiered justice system under Joe Biden. 

While New York faces an open season for crime, the Manhattan DA is focused on arresting a former president. This is what an assault on democracy looks like – using government power to go after your political opponents – and it’s coming directly from those who proclaim to ‘defend’ it. 

This isn’t normal, it isn’t ‘justice,’ and it’s certainly not what America stands for.” 

Gov. Kim Reynolds

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (via Twitter):

“Pres Trump was reportedly just indicted on an incredibly weak case after feds declined to prosecute Smells like politicization of our justice system Why isn’t DA Bragg cracking down on recent crime in NY to keep public safe??”

Sen. Chuck Grassley

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (via Twitter):

“This is politically motivated and Iowans see right through it. This far Left, soft on crime DA has been fixated on going after the former president while crime in his city runs rampant. We need to restore confidence and faith in our justice system.”

Sen. Joni Ernst