After Trump’s 2nd Indictment, His 2024 Presidential Marketing campaign Trudges On


Donald J. Trump went to mattress Tuesday evening, on the eve of his 77th birthday, as a now twice-indicted former president and present front-runner for the Republican nomination for the White Home in 2024.

“Some birthday,” Mr. Trump grumbled on Tuesday as he visited Versailles, a well-liked Cuban espresso store in Miami. “Some birthday.”

He had simply been arraigned on federal expenses. His co-defendant was working as his valet. And he didn’t eat Cuban — he had McDonald’s. On his airplane headed again to New Jersey from Miami, Mr. Trump ate the quick meals whereas holding courtroom with advisers and ending edits on the speech he would quickly ship and largely adhere to.

The surreal scene that awaited him at his personal membership in Bedminster, N.J., was a mix someplace between a summer time backyard wedding ceremony and a political victory get together. There was an air of an virtually post-arraignment celebration as ladies arrived of their finery: fuchsia and canary yellow attire, embroidered Trump wares and heels. Males sported fits and purple MAGA hats.

Then Mr. Trump arrived. Visibly deflated after pleading not responsible for the second time in three months, his dry and low-energy resuscitation of his authorized protection — even inflected with the same old references to Marxists, Communists and fascists — happy his advisers however drew a comparatively muted response from a crowd that had minutes earlier craned their telephones for a shot of his motorcade.

He had entered to the identical observe — “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood — that he has used as an entrance theme so many occasions earlier than. On Tuesday, the refrain landed otherwise.

Proud to be an American, the place a minimum of I do know I’m free.

“I did the whole lot proper,” Mr. Trump declared in his 30-minute speech, “they usually indicted me.”

When he completed, he barely lingered to soak up the applause. He gave an compulsory fist pump and mouthed due to the group. Then he turned and went inside.

All advised, the day encapsulated the outstanding numbness to the extraordinary that has outlined the Trump period. The previous president entered federal courtroom as a felony defendant, and now faces lots of of years in jail. The Republican front-runner’s early 2024 calendar now consists of not solely key caucuses and primaries however courtroom dates. His rivals are at occasions contorting themselves whereas discussing his alleged crimes; one circulated a petition on Tuesday demanding all of them promise to pardon him.

Mr. Trump’s look in a Miami courtroom was a humiliating second for a New York businessman with a 40-year historical past of participating in gamesmanship with prosecutors and regulators, viewing most each interplay as a transaction or one thing he might bluster his means by means of. By 2017, he had the armor of the presidency defending him when the primary particular counsel investigating him, Robert S. Mueller III, started his work. And by 2021, as investigations started into his efforts to thwart the switch of energy, he had come to see one other marketing campaign as a protect towards prosecutions.

However that grandeur — and authorized insulation — had vanished on Tuesday. As a substitute, Mr. Trump’s crew tried to create the sense of a person nonetheless in energy. In Bedminster, he spoke with the white columns of the primary home of his New Jersey golf membership behind him. The indictment grew to become one other backdrop for the continued Trump Present.

He was comforted by a motley assortment of his most fervent supporters. They included former President Richard Nixon’s son-in-law; a former New York Police Division commissioner whom Mr. Trump pardoned within the closing 12 months of his presidency; and a former administration official whom Mr. Trump named as a consultant to the Nationwide Archives.

It was the Nationwide Archives that started the winding highway that ended with Mr. Trump dealing with expenses alleging that he had defied a subpoena and saved extremely categorized paperwork. The company, which is in control of preserving presidential information, spent most of 2021 making an attempt to compel Mr. Trump to return packing containers of supplies that he had taken with him when he left the White Home. So did a few of his legal professionals and advisers. When he lastly returned 15 packing containers in January 2022, archives officers found practically 200 particular person categorized paperwork, and alerted the Justice Division.

On Tuesday evening in Bedminster, what amounted to a red-carpet MAGA crowd mingled to a carefree playlist of Trump-favored throwbacks: “Macho Man” by the Village Folks, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli, “We Will Rock You” by Queen, “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. Dozens of ladies wore matching red-white-and-blue outfits and chanted “We love Trump!” in unison as Mr. Trump was airborne.

The arraignment date occurred to coincide with Mr. Trump’s first main fund-raiser, with those that had raised a minimum of $100,000 invited to a “candlelight dinner” after his speech. The Trump marketing campaign will probably be paying Mr. Trump’s personal enterprise in donor {dollars} for each occasions, a apply he has completed for years.

Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor in Dallas and an early supporter who stated he wouldn’t “abandon” Mr. Trump, bought a name from a staffer for the previous president on Monday, asking him to attend. He stated Mr. Trump’s supporters noticed the fees as “political.”

“I believe they see this as Biden’s means of eliminating his No. 1” opponent, he stated, as music blared behind him.

Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama, missed votes in Washington to be there to cheer for Mr. Trump.

The gathering in Bedminster and Mr. Trump’s not-quite impromptu cafe cease in Miami have been harking back to how he dealt with the gravest political risk he confronted in his first 2016 marketing campaign: the notorious “Entry Hollywood” tape. Again then, he immersed himself in a crowd of his supporters outdoors Trump Tower. Now, he did so each at his personal property and in a pleasant nook of a metropolis the place he’ll quickly face trial.

“You see the place the individuals are,” Mr. Trump stated after he was serenaded with a short rendition of “Pleased Birthday” on the Cuban cafe, called Versailles, the place he additionally stopped to pose for an image with a combined martial arts fighter.

He appeared decided to mission nonchalance as a lot as defiance. His co-defendant and valet, Walt Nauta, continued to help him all through the day, even because the decide cautioned towards the 2 males discussing the case, after touring to courtroom as a part of Mr. Trump’s motorcade employees. Ever image-conscious, Mr. Trump had entered the courthouse in Miami out of the sightlines of cameras, and he averted a mug shot and handcuffs for the second time.

The act of indicting him, Mr. Trump stated, “will go down in infamy.” And he pledged to nominate a “actual particular prosecutor” as soon as he’s president once more to go after President Biden and his household.

“The seal is damaged by what they’ve completed,” he added.


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