Former President Donald Trump addresses supporters at a rally supporting local candidates in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (Getty Images)
But support for other Republicans took a notable backseat, as the former president took the opportunity to defend himself defiantly at his first campaign rally since the FBI executed a search warrant at his home Sea-to-Lake. His most faithful followers were present to show their solidarity with the man they consider the rightful winner of the 2020 elections.RELATED
“The administration of Biden he invaded the house of his main political opponent, who of course is destroying him and everyone else at the polls,” Trump told an enthusiastic crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena, which responded to the words with resounding boos. “They are trying to silence me, and more importantly, they are trying to silence you.”
Many of Trump’s harshest criticisms of the FBI or the “Deep State” brought supporters to their feet multiple times. Many people wore the infamous red “Make America Great Again” or “Trump won” hats [Trump ganó] in reference to the great lie that democrats the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Wilkes-Barre is based in Luzerne County, one of the white, working-class districts that historically voted Democratic, but which Trump flipped in 2016 and 2020, even though President Joe Biden reduced some of his margin. victory in the last election.
Trump’s speech was arguably aimed at rallying supporters of the candidates he endorsed, such as Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. Both contests serve as important litmus tests, given that Trump endorsed both candidates in the primaries, but both have been falling behind their Democratic opponents during the general election, and now panic has reached the GOP.
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However, while those candidates did speak later at the rally, it was clear the supporters were in attendance for the Trump show. Even as people entered the arena, supporters chanted “Let’s Go Brandon,” the phrase used among Trump supporters that is code for “Fuck Joe Biden,” while others wore T-shirts that read “You raided the wrong president [Catearon al presidente equivocado].
“I feel like the FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service, I don’t care who you mention, they’re all wallowing with the Democrats,” Patty SantaBarbara said after the rally. She and her friend Paola Ciaschetti traveled to Pennsylvania from upstate New York. Although she said she didn’t think individual officers were wallowing with Democrats, leaders were.
“There was no reason to break into that man’s house, into his wife’s room,” SantaBarbara said.
Trump’s speech came days after the Justice Department released a court document that claimed that he had evidence that government records were likely have been transferred to obstruct your investigation.
The filing said the FBI found twice as many documents as attorneys for Trump and that some documents were so sensitive that Justice Department staff tasked with reviewing them had to wait for special security clearances.
FBI agents also found 90 folders that once contained extremely sensitive documents among the 27 boxes they removed from Trump’s Palm Beach estate.
“They talked about the documents not being stored properly,” Trump said. “However, they went in and took documents, threw them on the floor, arranged a photo shoot and pretended it was me, as if I had thrown them all over the floor.”
This argument, of course, ignored the whole point of the Justice Department’s accusations that he or his team moved the documents. Similarly, Trump showed no signs of changing his stance. Christina Bobb and Alina Habba, both attorneys helping him in his anti-government efforts, were in attendance, despite his clumsy legal interventions on Fox News or other right-wing media outlets.
But Trump defended his actions to the crowd.
“Our movement is fighting against a corrupt group of unelected tyrants who believe they can wield absolute power over you with the help of a willing and highly corrupt media,” he declared. “They think that the deep state, not the citizens, should be the real owners of this country.”
Michelle McNulty came to the rally from Dickson City, Pennsylvania, and endorsed the arguments.
“I feel like it was weird because they don’t want Trump to win,” Michelle told The Independent before the rally. “That’s why they went while he was on vacation.”
It has been these people who have isolated him throughout his presidency; the staunch support of the GOP base meant that Republicans couldn’t walk away from him at any point during the primaries, and when Trump shocked the world by becoming the first Republican to win Pennsylvania since 1988, he showed them they could never antagonize with the. That meant they vigorously defended him during the special counsel’s investigation. Robert Mueller and during two impeachment proceedings, both of which Trump discredited.
The legal risk you face is different. Unlike impeachment, the Justice Department it does not need the consent of the Republican Party to act. Legal charges do not require the consent of the majority of the base voters. However, Trump knows that his support group will acquit him, since this comes after Senator Lindsey Graham, who went from criticizing him to defending him in the Senate, warned of the possibility of riots in the streets if charges were brought.
In turn, the former president chose to take refuge in the cocoon of his followers, right in the middle of “Trump country.” Trump allowed Dr. Oz and Doug Mastriano to speak. In addition, he criticized Dr. Oz’s Democratic opponent, John Fetterman, whom he said he dresses “like a teenager who gets high in his parents’ basement.”
“Fetterman supports taxpayer-funded drug dens and the complete decriminalization of illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and the ultra-lethal fentanyl,” express. “And by the way, he consumes them himself.”
At the same time, Mastriano, a longtime supporter of the president, who was present in Washington on January 6thalthough he said he left the Capitol before the violence started, elicited much louder applause. Instead, someone in the audience yelled that Dr. Oz was a “RINO,” a Republican in name only, an idea echoed by Marleen Laska after the rally.
“I don’t trust him to do the right thing for America, to put America first,” he told The Independent. However, she said that she planned to vote for him. “I have to vote for him because, you know, we need to get at least a RINO instead of Fetterman.”
The crowd frequently chanted “lock her up” or interrupted Trump in the middle of his speech to criticize Trump’s enemies. On several occasions, the audience reached a feverish pitch and he garnered numerous standing ovations throughout the rally.
The former president also took issue with President Biden’s speech this week, in which he denounced right-wing extremism.
“There is only one party that is declaring war on American democracy through the censorship of free speech and the criminalization of disagreement,” he said. “They disarm law-abiding citizens, they issue lawless mandates and unconstitutional orders, they imprison political protesters. That’s what they’re doing: rigging elections, using the Justice Department and the FBI as weapons like never before, and raiding and breaking into the homes of their political opponents. I wonder who it could be.”
At the same time, he also highlighted that he was outperforming Biden in the polls.
“So I may have to do it again,” he told the audience.
Since the raid, Trump has frequently posted on TruthSocial or he has spent a lot of time inside the cocoon of his inner circle since the break-in at Mar-a-Lago last month.
There probably isn’t much to say to convince die-hard Trump supporters. Richard Morholt, who attended the rally, repeated Trump’s frequent lies about his power to declassify documents.
“He has the authority to classify and declassify anything he wants in his administration,” Morholt told The Independent after the rally. He also pointed out how Biden was a “failing student” (it is true that Biden failed a subject after admitted plagiarism, but took it again), while Trump was an A student, for which, again, there is no evidence, since he was never an outstanding student at the University of Pennsylvania. But that truth, like the truth about the law, is likely to prove irrelevant.
Andrew Feinberg contributed to this report