In an address Tuesday night, delivered just hours after he was first charged with a crime as ex-president Donald Trump decried the criminal charges against Trump and described them as part of larger patterns of political persecution.
Trump spoke for the first time publicly in 25 minutes at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday afternoon, when he was charged with falsifying business records. He recited a list of grievances and sounded more like he was giving a speech to address the 34 felony charges against him for his role in a 2016 Hush Money scheme, which involved paying off porn stars.
Trump was feisty throughout the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation. He appeared stiff and stone-faced during Tuesday's court proceedings - a shell his bombastic self. He criticized the charges for being politically motivated and meritless as he made remarks at Mar-a-Lago.
The hundreds of fans in the club's elegant ballroom, to whom he spoke, seemed to be energized. The day seemed to have caught up with the former president. He read his remarks largely from a Teleprompter and appeared to lack his usual animation.
Trump stated that even people who aren't huge fans of Trump's claims were wrong. It's insulting to our country, as the world is already laughing about us for many other reasons.
Trump bounced around from topic to topic, making a slew of complaints about everything from the Ukraine war to the border to unsupported claims that President Joe Biden had illegally hidden more than 1,000 boxes of classified documents.
Trump told a series of falsehoods in his remarks. He also recounted the political trials and investigations he had been subject to since he declared he would be running for president in 2015.
He also spent a lot of his speech railing against the ongoing investigations into Trump's conduct. These included a Georgia probe into Trump and his associates' attempts to overturn the election results, as well as a pair of investigations by Justice Department Jack Smith into Trump’s actions leading to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and Trump's handlings of classified materials following his departure from office. Trump also lashed out at a civil suit relating to business that will be brought against him by New York Attorney General Letitia Jam.
Trump didn't address Tuesday's charges until almost 20 minutes into his remarks.
Trump referred to Bragg, and said that a failed local district attorney had charged a former president of America with a crime. "Virtually all of them." It's worse because he knew that there wasn't a case.
Legal analysts from all political parties openly questioned the case's foundations in the hours following the arraignment. They rely on an untested legal theory that elevates the charges from misdemeanors into felonies.
Trump personally attacked Bragg as he did many times in the past few weeks. He at times called Bragg an 'animal'. Trump also attacked Judge Juan Merchan, the presiding judge, and Merchan's entire family.
Merchan, who was present at the arraignment, advised Trump to refrain from making statements that could incite violence or civil unrest.
Trump and his campaign tried to use the indictment for political gains. According to the campaign, it has raised $7 Million since last week. It sent out steady streams of fundraising emails Tuesday with one promising donors a Tshirt with a fake Trumpmug shot printed on it, above the words "not guilty".
Trump reiterated this political message Tuesday night at the end of his speech.
"Incredibly, now we are a failing country. We are in decline. These radical left lunatics are trying to influence our elections through law enforcement. Trump stated, "We can't allow that to happen."
"All of this being said and with a dark cloud over our beloved nation, I have no doubt that we will make America great once again."