Former President Donald J. Trump delivered a prime-time address at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday evening in response to his arraignment in New York on criminal charges. During his 21-minute speech, Trump aired out his grievances while claiming the case against him was “unfair and politically motivated”. With Republican Party officials, allies, and family members in attendance, Trump called Manhattan district attorney Alvin L. Bragg a “criminal” and attacked the judge handling the case, Juan M. Merchan, for having a family that is “Trump-hating”.
This comes after the court hearing where Justice Merchan advised Trump against making public statements about the case with potential to incite violence and civil unrest. In the speech, he also renewed his criticisms of the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago in August, the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into him and his family’s business dealings, and the open case in Georgia about his meddling in the 2020 election there.
Anticipation for Mr. Trump’s remarks had been building all day as cable networks and national media outlets delivered updates leading up to his speech. In it, he claimed the New York accuse was a “persecution, not an investigation”, and ended it by repeating his 2016 campaign motto, to the largest applause of the night. All of this was done in an effort to sway public opinion and amass small donations from supporters.
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Mr. Trump’s prime-time speech was a display of his continued influence on national politics and his understanding of what appeals to his devoted supporters. It is likely that his efforts to rally his base will continue to be a focus of his upcoming legal battles, as the former president remains the first to ever face the prospect of a criminal trial.