Trump hits the campaign trail for the first time since his conviction

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump walks away after speaking to the media following the verdict in his secret trial at Trump Tower on May 31, 2024, in New York.


During his decades in the public eye, Donald Trump introduced himself to crowds as a builder of skyscrapers and casinos, best-selling author, reality TV host, husband and father, New Yorker and Floridian , and former and current president. the United States.

On Thursday, Trump will address an audience for the first time with his new nickname: Felon.

Trump will speak at a town hall in Phoenix on Thursday, his first campaign appearance since a Manhattan jury last week convicted the presumptive Republican nominee on 34 counts related to a scheme to pay a porn star before the 2016 election. Trump will hold his first rally since the verdict three days later in Las Vegas, part of a westward move that will also include several fundraising stops.

The whirlwind of events marks a new phase in Trump’s campaign, his New York record now largely behind him. No longer tethered to a Manhattan courtroom during the week, Trump is expected to ramp up his activity as he moves from trial to trial.

But as he returns to the campaign trail as a convicted felon, the urgency for Trump has crystallized. As he awaits sentencing in the financial silence case, his best way to avoid more serious charges in the three other indictments he faces is to convince the Americans to return him to power.

Trump’s allies have responded to this unprecedented moment with growing calls for retaliation — both immediately after his conviction and if he wins back the White House. Trump himself also threatened his political opponents, continuing the retaliatory rhetoric that has permeated his campaign from the start.

“This is a terrible precedent for our country,” Trump said during an interview with Newsmax that aired Tuesday. “Does this mean the next president will do this to them? That’s really the question.

Trump had already galvanized his supporters around his legal problems well before last week’s verdict. His rallies had become an opportunity for Trump to speak out on his multiple indictments, test the limits of silence orders, attack the justice system and portray himself as a victim of a conspiracy to get away from the White House.

His campaign believes the messages prepared the Republican base for this outcome — and it shouldn’t stop. His supporters responded with an unprecedented wave of donations that flooded Trump campaign coffers with $53 million online in the 24 hours after his conviction, his advisers said, and fundraising appeals focused on his beliefs continued.

In text messages to supporters Saturday, Trump’s campaign sent a link to donate and wrote, “I’m still standing.” 34 fake felony convictions can’t hold me.

Yet Trump cannot emerge anytime soon from the lingering cloud of his crimes or the uncertainty he has created regarding his third bid for the White House. The main unknown concerns the reaction of the broader electorate to the first criminal conviction of a former US president.

The event in Arizona, organized by the conservative group Turning Point Action, will put Trump in a state where undecided voters can determine his fate.

His arrival there comes days after President Joe Biden’s latest action to secure the border — an issue Trump has used to hammer the Democrat with each wave of migrant crossings. Biden announced an executive action Tuesday giving him the authority to effectively close the U.S.-Mexico border to illegally entering asylum seekers when a daily threshold of crossings is exceeded.

Biden and his allies framed his new policy as running counter to Republican inaction, noting that Trump helped defeat a bipartisan deal in the Senate to free up new resources to secure the border.

“The American people are demanding solutions to fix our broken immigration system, but at every step, Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans have made it clear that they only want chaos and partisan politics as usual,” he said. Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said in a statement Tuesday. .

Trump is expected to use the opportunity in Arizona to make a broad response to Biden’s actions, a source with knowledge of his planned remarks told CNN.

But the event is also clearly aimed at rallying Trump’s base around his recent conviction.

“President Trump has proven time and time again that he is an absolute force of nature that the left fears more than any other,” said Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point Action and a Trump ally, in a statement announced at the city ​​hall. “They know Joe Biden can’t beat him in a fair fight, which is why they have shamefully weaponized the justice system.”

The Trump campaign, however, is not worried that Trump will confuse the message on immigration by focusing on his legal battles.

Trump “can walk and chew gum,” the source said.

Leave a Comment