Donald Trump struck a defiant tone during a call with his supporters on Tuesday night following his arrest and arraignment in New York, in which he pleaded not guilty to 34 counts relating to falsifying business records for cover up silent money payments during his 2016 presidential run.
Back at his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, the first president in American history to be charged with a crime delivered remarks to religious leaders and other prominent cheerleaders during a pre-arranged call in which he insisted he had a “big day” despite being the victim of a “fake investigation”.
“As you know, we are conducting a bogus investigation. It is what it is. By people on the radical left who I believe must hate our country. And we win – we had a great day today, actually, because it turned out to be a sham,” he told his audience.
“Turns out that’s it. And we have more on the line. But we’ve been earning them for eight years now, ever since we walked down the golden escalator, as they call it, at Trump Tower.
Mr. Trump reportedly concluded his comments by attempting to bolster his support, reminding listeners of his track record of appointing Republican-friendly Supreme Court justices and supporting Christian causes during his time in the White House.
The twice-impeached former president then expanded on his grievances against New York County Attorney Alvin Bragg in a primetime televised address, calling Mr Bragg a “failing district attorney” and a “criminal “, complaining that in his opinion: “He unlawfully disclosed massive amounts of grand jury information for which he should be prosecuted, or at least he should resign.”
He also attacked Mr Bragg’s wife for tweeting about the case and the New York Supreme Court justice presiding over Tuesday’s arraignment, Judge Juan Merchan, saying: ‘I have a judge who hates Trump with wife and family who hate Trump whose daughter works for [US vice president] Kamala Harris.
This all came despite Judge Merchan warning Mr. Trump in court to stop making threats on his Truth Social platform that could stoke tensions or incite violence, a response to a series of inflammatory messages to the approach to Tuesday’s hearing, including his denunciation of the venue as a ‘kangaroo court’ and insisting his case should have been heard on Staten Island rather than Manhattan, a borough in which Trump is located Tower but who he feels is prejudiced against him.
“Our country is going to hell,” insisted the Republican, deploring the alleged militarization of American justice against him.
“We are a nation in decline. And now these crazies from the radical left want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.
Despite his bullish public tone, CNN later reported that, behind the scenes, Mr Trump was in fact “shattered” after “an emotional day”, citing a source close to him.
Mr Trump reportedly dined on the terrace of the Mar-a-Lago club after concluding his speech surrounded by family members and some of his closest political allies, including Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz and his Georgian counterpart Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had earlier in the day was drowned out by boos, whistles and mockery during a pro-Trump protest outside Manhattan Criminal Court.
Mr. Trump was then seen DJing from a laptop and chatting with Republican veteran and Republican political operative Roger Stone, according to the network.
Explaining the former president’s decision to quickly return to the company of his flattering courtiers in Palm Beach, the source said, “Who wouldn’t want to be around people who adore him after this?”