- Donald Trump is defiant after federal indictment on 37 counts.
- What did he say in his first public appearances since the news broke?
- He gave speeches in North Carolina and Georgia.
On Saturday former President Donald Trump railed against his landmark federal indictment, calling it «ridiculous» and «baseless» in his first public appearances since the charges against him were unsealed.
Trump claimed that the 37 felony counts were an assault on his supporters, as he tried to profit politically from his serious legal troubles and project an image of normality, according to The Associated Press.
Donald Trump is defiant in his first appearances after federal indictment
In his speeches at the Republican state conventions in Georgia and North Carolina, Trump said his prosecution by the Justice Department is an attempt to undermine his chances of returning to the White House as he campaigns for reelection.
«They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people,» Trump declared in Georgia, later telling the crowd that «ultimately, they’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you.»
Trump announced that he will remain in the race even if he is found guilty
This is a familiar strategy from Trump, who remains the favorite in the race for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of the 2024 elections despite mounting legal problems, including criminal charges filed against him in March in NY.
Time and again, Trump has tried to discredit law enforcement during investigations while portraying his supporters as victims, even when he is charged with serious crimes. Trump also announced Saturday that he will remain in the race even if he is found guilty.
«I did not do anything wrong»
«I’ll never leave,» he told Politico in an interview on board the plane he was traveling in after his speech in Georgia. He predicted that he will not be found guilty and ignored questions about a self-pardon if he wins a second term.
«I don’t think I’ll ever have to,» Trump said. «I didn’t do anything wrong.» The indictment unsealed Friday accuses Trump of knowingly defying Justice Department requests to return classified documents, enlisting associates to conceal it and even telling his lawyers that he wanted to contest a subpoena related to materials held at his residence.
Trump will make his first federal court appearance Tuesday
The indictment includes allegations that Trump stored documents in a living room and bathroom at his Mar-a-Lago estate, among other locations. Trump is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court in Miami on Tuesday.
The former president was charged along with valet Walt Nauta, his personal aide who prosecutors allege moved boxes from a warehouse to Trump’s residence for inspection and later lied to investigators about it. Nauta traveled with Trump on Saturday and appeared next to him during a stop at the Georgia Waffle House, where the former president signed autographs, posed for pictures and told his supporters: «We did absolutely nothing wrong.»