The former President, Donald Trump, returned to his New Jersey golf club, Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, following his Miami federal court plea of not guilty to over three dozen charges associated with alleged mishandling of classified documents post his presidential term in 2021.
Welcomed by hundreds of supporters to the tune of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” Mr. Trump, aged 76, argued that he had been subjected to “political persecution like something straight out of a fascist or communist nation.” He urged the abandonment of the case, alleging that it was causing harm to the country.
Earlier on the same day, the former President was arraigned on 37 counts, 31 of them accusing him of the unlawful retention of national security information.
In his address, lasting around half an hour, Trump claimed that the current President, Joe Biden, instigated his prosecution without any substantiating evidence. He also leveled accusations against special counsel Jack Smith, calling him “a deranged lunatic.”
Mr. Trump expressed his strong disapproval, arguing, “Today we witnessed the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country. It’s a very sad thing to watch.”
Among the charges faced by Mr. Trump are one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding, concealing, and scheming to conceal documents, and making false statements.
The indictment alleges that the ex-President and his aide Walt Nauta had been moving boxes containing classified documents around Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., over several months, intending to evade federal authorities.
The classified material allegedly retained by Mr. Trump includes an “attack plan” for a foreign country and intelligence information shared with US allies, some of which was allegedly shared with individuals lacking security clearances.
Despite facing these charges, Mr. Trump maintains that he has been unfairly targeted and compared his situation to that of Biden, arguing that the current President’s handling of classified records is also under investigation.
Towards the end of his address, Mr. Trump insisted that the charges against him were designed to distract from allegations of corruption linked to the first family’s foreign business dealings.
Mr. Trump concluded his speech by asserting that his legal challenges were part of a broader pattern of politically motivated attacks dating back to the 2016 election and vowed to continue standing against them. He added, “On November 5, 2024, justice will be done. We will take back our country and we will make America great again.”
During a press briefing on Tuesday, the White House declined to comment on the case, and President Biden refrained from sharing his reaction to the arraignment.
Meanwhile, outside the Miami courthouse during the day, Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters clashed, leading to the arrest of one individual holding a “Lock him up” sign, who attempted to block the former President’s motorcade. In contrast, at the Bedminster event, the crowd showed unequivocal support for Mr. Trump, chanting “U-S-A!” and other pro-Trump slogans.