Trump casts 2024 contest in apocalyptic terms, slams prosecutors

Published March 27, 2023
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his first campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in the 2024 election at an event in Waco, Texas, U.S., March 25, 2023. —  Reuters
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his first campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in the 2024 election at an event in Waco, Texas, U.S., March 25, 2023. — Reuters

WACO: Donald Trump used his first election rally in Waco, Texas, to cast the 2024 presidential vote in apocalyptic terms, slam his leading Republican rival Ron DeSantis and rail against prosecutors pursuing him with criminal investigations he likened to a “Stalinist Russia horror show.”

Speaking to several thousand of his diehard supporters, some flashing signs saying “Witch hunt”, Trump spent much of his nearly two-hour speech attacking the multiple investigations that have put him in legal peril as politically motivated.

Without offering evidence, the leading candidate for the Republican Party nomination accused the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden of orchestrating his criminal prosecution to undermine his bid for the White House.

“The Biden regime’s weaponisation of law enforcement against their political opponents is something straight out of the Stalinist Russia horror show,” Trump said. “From the beginning it’s been one witch hunt and phony investigation after another.”

Trump is being investigated by prosecutors in Manhattan for campaign finance violations stemming his alleged payment of hush money to an adult film actress ahead of the 2016 election.

Lawmaker says FBI briefed him on the ex-president’s rhetoric over New York probe

FBI briefed US lawmaker

US Senator Mark Warner said on Sunday he was briefed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Donald Trump’s rhetoric after the former president verbally lashed out at a New York prosecutor.

“I have been briefed by the FBI. They say they are fully prepared,” Warner, a Democrat and the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN. “They have seen no specific threats but the level of rhetoric on some of these right-wing sites has increased.”

Trump has specifically condemned Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in multiple posts on his Truth Social media site since March 18 when the former president wrongly predicted he would be arrested three days later. Trump has warned of potential “death & destruction” if he faced criminal charges.

Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said that some of Trump’s online attacks against Bragg were ill-advised.

“I’m not his social media consultant. I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up & he quickly took down,” Tacopina told NBC News in reference to a post by Trump of his image holding a baseball bat next to Bragg. New York City Mayor Eric Adams also said the city was prepared for any fallout from a potential Trump indictment.

“We are just going to be ready no matter what happens,” Adams told PIX11.

Daniels, an adult film actress and director whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she received the money in exchange for keeping silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006.

Trump has denied ever having an affair with Daniels, and has called the payment a “simple private transaction.” He has said he did not commit a crime and has called the investigation, one of many legal hurdles that he faces, politically motivated. The Manhattan grand jury probing Trump is expected to reconvene in the coming week.

Few supporters have heeded his calls to take to the streets to protest his possible indictment in the Manhattan case and Trump did not repeat any such call on Saturday.

Trump did speak of “demonic forces” trying to demolish the country, which he said was at risk of falling into a “lawless abyss” unless he is voted back into the White House.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2023

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