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Wildwood beach rally draws large crowd for Donald Trump – NBC10 Philadelphia

Wildwood beach rally draws large crowd for Donald Trump – NBC10 Philadelphia

 


Sandwiched between his court appearances, Donald Trump visited the Jersey Shore on Saturday, where he repeatedly blamed President Joe Biden for the criminal charges he faces as presumptive nominees prepare to face off in the November election and called his New York hush money affair. a Biden show trial.

Calling the Democratic president a complete idiot, Trump, in front of a crowd of tens of thousands, repeatedly called the prosecution against him politically motivated and timed to harm his ability to campaign.

He's an idiot. He's not a smart man, Trump said of Biden. I talk about him differently now because now the gloves are off.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, drew what his team called a mega crowd to a rally Saturday night in Wildwood, a southern New Jersey resort town 150 miles south of the New York courthouse , where he was forced to go. spends most days of the week sitting in silence during his hush money trial.

Lisa Fagan, a spokeswoman for the city of Wildwood, told The Associated Press that she estimated a crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 attendees, based on her own observations at the scene Saturday, after seeing dozens of other events in the same space.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke People line up to attend a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump, in Wildwood, New Jersey, Saturday, May 11, 2024.

Trump was joined on stage by several high-profile supporters, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who remains on the list of registered sex offenders after having pleaded guilty in New York in 2011 to criminal charges of sex offenses. misconduct and condescension towards an underage prostitute.

The seaside rally, described by Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., as the largest political rally in state history, was designed to serve as a show of force at a critical time for Trump , who faces dozens of criminal charges in four separate criminal cases less than six months before the election.

Hours before he took the stage, thousands of Trump loyalists sporting Never Surrender T-shirts and red Make America Great Again hats gathered on the sand between the boardwalk and rides to greet the former president republican.

Ordinary Americans support him 100 percent, said Doreen O'Neill, a 62-year-old nurse from Philadelphia.

They have to deceive him, smear him and humiliate him in this courtroom every day, O'Neill said. This country is going to go crazy if they steal the election again.

Trump's extraordinary legal troubles, which include three other unrelated criminal cases, have emerged as a central issue of the campaign.

Trump has repeatedly accused the Biden administration and Democratic officials in New York of using the legal system to block his return to the White House. Prosecutors say the former president broke the law to cover up an affair with a porn actor that allegedly hurt his first bid for president.

On Saturday, Trump claimed that even those he accuses of politically motivated lawsuits have not presented every case possible, underscoring the boost his campaign has received with each wave of accusations.

I heard that they were going to do a few other things and they said that from Washington… they would charge him at the White House, Trump said. They said: Don't do it.

As Trump capitalized on his legal woes Saturday, a judge's silence and threat of jail limit Trump's ability to comment publicly on witnesses, jurors and some others connected to the New York trial, which is expected to last most of the month. The judge in the case has already fined Trump $9,000 for violating the order and warned that prison time could follow if he does not comply.

Judge Juan Merchan ruled that former President Donald Trump violated the court's silence order for his comments about the jury in his New York criminal case.

The order does not include references to Judge Juan M. Merchan, whom Trump has called highly confrontational, or to District Attorney Alvin Bragg, both of whom Trump says are doing the bidding for crooked Joe Biden.

Trump's responsibilities as a defendant limited his ability to convince voters on the campaign trail.

He spent his day off from the court last week in the general election battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan. And he was campaigning Saturday with tens of thousands of voters in New Jersey, a reliably Democratic state. Parts of New Jersey have deep red enclaves, and the South Coast in particular attracts tourists and summer homeowners from neighboring Pennsylvania, a key state.

Biden, meanwhile, opened his weekend with a series of fundraising events on the West Coast.

He avoided legal challenges from Trump, as he always did when speaking to donors in Seattle. Instead, the Democratic president focused on Trump's recent interview with Time magazine in which the former Republican president said states should have the choice to determine whether to prosecute women for abortion or monitor their pregnancies.

Saturday's visit to the New Jersey Shore resort wasn't the first highlight.

While president, Trump held a rally there in January 2020 to thank Van Drew, the New Jersey congressman who had just left the Democratic Party for the GOP, as a rebuke for Trump's first impeachment. former president.

Trump then drew a crowd that lined the streets, filled the bars and supported many vendors in what is usually a sleepy town in winter. This time, the summer season is fast approaching for the resort known for its vast beaches, games and shops.

Wildwood is in New Jersey's 2nd District, which Van Drew represented for three terms and covers all or part of New Jersey's six southern counties. He opted for Trump in 2016, then again in 2020, after supporting Barack Obama.

Trump is expected to return to the courtroom next week, when the prosecution's key witness, Michael Cohen, Trump's fixer-turned-enemy, is expected to take the witness stand. Last week, he was visibly angry at times when he was forced to hear testimony from former porn actor Stormy Daniels, who described a sexual relationship with the former president in shocking detail.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying the Trump Organization's internal business records. The fees come from documents such as invoices and checks that were considered legal fees on company records. Prosecutors say those payments were largely reimbursements to Cohen, Trump's lawyer, who paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet.

The prosecution could close its case by the end of the week. It is unclear whether Trump himself will speak when the defense presents its arguments.

Back on the Jersey Shore, Pat Day, 65, said she felt the urgency to see Trump in person on Saturday.

We want to see Trump before they eliminate him, said Day, who was visiting from the Florida Keys. I'm worried. They will do everything they can to prevent him from being re-elected.

___

Kinnard reported from Columbia, South Carolina.

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