When news broke Thursday that a Manhattan grand jury had voted to indict former President Donald Trump, Trump and his supporters were quick to portray him as an innocent victim and to suggest that his prosecution spelled the end of democracy in America.

The charges follow an investigation into a hush money payment made to former adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. With the indictment under seal, the exact charges have not yet been made public, though some news reports suggest Trump faces about 30 charges and that he is expected to be charged with falsifying business records to cover up the payment.

Trump himself displayed his trademark narcissism Thursday, writing in one of many urgent emails, “We are living through the darkest chapter of American history.”

The always-blustery right-wing pundit Mark Levin ranted on “Fox & Friends” Friday morning, “We have crossed the Rubicon. This is a tyranny now.”

Right-wing youth leader Charlie Kirk, who heads Turning Point USA, claimed that the indictment of Trump is a “designed campaign” by the left to provoke right-wing violence “to justify the next phase of their takeover of the country.”

Ali Alexander, a leader of the “Stop the Steal” effort to keep Trump in power after his 2020 loss, wrote on his Telegram account, “TRUMP INDICTMENT refocuses some things. We’re approaching Luciferian-triggered civil war. We must fight Them. May God bless and forgive us where we fall short.”

Far-right broadcaster Pete Santilli—who last week said that if Trump were arrested, the military and law enforcement should round up and execute former President Barack Obama and other members of the “criminal cabal”—reacted to the news by telling his viewers that “these leftist, gun-grabbing Maoists, you will never have a peaceful resolution with. They’re going to come and kill you.”

Amid reports that New York law enforcement officials are preparing for possible violence, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted, “I’m going to New York on Tuesday. We MUST protest the unconstitutional WITCH HUNT!”

Although details of the indictment haven’t been made public, Sen. Ted Cruz used his “Verdict” podcast to denounce the indictment as “utter and complete garbage,” describing himself as angry and “heartbroken” over what he called a “devastating” blow to the rule of law. Cruz claimed that the Manhattan investigation was an effort by “radical Democrats” to “steal” the 2024 presidential election.

Cruz said the indictment would boost Trump’s election campaign, a sentiment echoed by other far-right followers of the twice-impeached former president. The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody said the indictment had made Trump a “political martyr.”

On “FlashPoint,” a show that appears on evangelist Kenneth Copeland’s Victory Channel that was a steady source of misinformation about the 2020 election and Jan. 6 insurrection, failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate and election denier Kari Lake denounced what she called “false, phony charges.” Trump’s supporters, she said, are “tried and true” and will stay with him “all the way.”

Trump’s religious-right backers also rallied around him, with Franklin Graham calling it a “shameful day for America.”

As noted by religion scholar Diana Butler Bass in her latest newsletter, Trump has been using increasingly messianic and apocalyptic language in reference to his legal troubles in an effort to maintain religious-right support. Trump followers who believe he is anointed by God and is being persecuted like Jesus by the legions of Satan is “a theo-political wild card we’ve got to pay attention to,” Bass writes. She points to the biblical story of Jesus’ arrest in which one of his disciples attacked one of the soldiers. While Jesus insisted, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword,” Bass warns, “Do not expect the same from Trump.”