Republican presidential candidates flooding Daniel Penny with cash: report
US Marine veteran Daniel Penny (C) is walked out of the New York Police Department 5th Precinct in Lower Manhattan, May 12, 2023, on his way to an arraignment for charges in the chokehold death of Jordan Neely(AFP)

Daniel Penny, a former Marine behind the 15-minute fatal choking of Jordan Neely, a homeless 30-year-old man in a mental health crisis, on the New York City Subway, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. But he isn't without allies as he prepares for trial.

According to Mother Jones, multiple Republican presidential candidates have jumped in, contributing money to Penny's legal defense fund and portraying an alleged act of vigilantism as a heroic stand for law and order.

"Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) tweeted a link to donate to Penny’s legal defense fund. 'We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny,' DeSantis wrote. 'Let’s show this Marine…America’s got his back,'" reported Noah Lanard. "Other Republicans followed suit. 'I agree with this. Just donated,' Vivek Ramaswamy, the self-funding presidential candidate, responded on Sunday. 'More of us should. We must restore the rule of law in America.' Ramaswamy gave $10,000, so far the second largest of the more than 46,000 donations totaling over two million dollars sent via the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo."

GiveSendGo has hosted a number of other extremist crowdfunding efforts, including a neo-Nazi project to build a whites-only community in Maine.

"As his rivals defended Penny, Donald Trump remained silent on his highly active social media feed — avoiding a chance to attack Alvin Bragg, the New York District Attorney who charged both him and Penny," said the report. "When asked about Neely’s death in an interview published Monday, Trump was unusually reserved in his support of Penny. 'So, I haven’t seen the tapes,' Trump said. 'I won’t make a definitive [statement] but it looks to me like the people in that car were in great danger.'" This stands in contrast to Trump's previous, infamous demand in print media to execute the exonerated individuals once called the "Central Park Five" — something for which he has never apologized and continues to claim he was right to do.

According to the report, other prominent Republican figures are also taking a stand in favor of the alleged vigilante killing.

"Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called [Penny] a 'subway Superman,'" said the report. "A New York Post editor wrote that the 'only difference between Daniel Penny and the heroic passengers aboard United 93 is he’s been charged with manslaughter by a usually soft-on-crime Manhattan DA.' On Twitter, Gavin Wax, the head of the New York Young Republican Club captioned a tweet of Penny in handcuffs: 'This man is a hero.' Wax then shared a reply from an anonymous user that claimed Penny 'is no different than the frontiersmen that settled America – brave and fearless against foes.'"