Trump after conviction looks like Trump before conviction in return to the track

PHOENIX — Hands went up when a warm-up speaker for Donald Trump asked who “gave money after the conviction?” Attendees at the event held enlarged posters of Trump’s photo in Georgia and shook them to applause.

Taking the stage exactly a week after a Manhattan jury found him guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records, Trump on Thursday called his trial “rigged” and said “there is no had no crime.” But he mainly spoke about other issues that animated his presidential campaign. He claimed that Arizona had become a “dumping ground” for “the third world” and launched a profane and apocalyptic denunciation of the country under President Biden, whose border policy amounted, he said, to “one of the conspiracies the most despicable criminals of all time.

In other words, in his first major campaign event since his conviction, the Trump show continued with few changes to programming.

“If we don’t win, this country is finished, I truly believe that,” he told the crowd.

Trump spoke at an event hosted by the conservative group Turning Point Action, which is planning a broad turnout effort and whose leaders spent much of Thursday’s program urging the public to sign up to become “ballot chasers” who encourage others to vote. The mood at Dream City Church, a sleek megachurch in Phoenix, was upbeat.

Trump fans lined up happily in 99-degree heat to get in; Many did not make it out and some were rushed to hospital, exhausted from the heat. Those who entered were excited and rowdy, rising from their theater-style seats to dance to the music and interjecting during Trump’s speech by shouting, “Shame on Joe Biden!” “Drill, baby, drill!” “Bring back the death penalty!” »

A dramatic video montage of Trump — which focused heavily on his legal troubles — was played so loudly before his remarks that chairs in the auditorium vibrated. The crowd shouted boos later when the former president discussed his case in New York.

“There was no crime, it was made up,” Trump said, before moving on a minute later to other topics.

He focused more than anything else on illegal immigration at the southern border – a particularly significant problem in Arizona. Trump praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s approach to immigration, declared the “Biden invasion” and blasted Biden’s recent executive order aimed at curbing illegal border crossings. Trump called him “bullshit” — even though he said he didn’t like using that word in front of “step kids.”

At the back of the room, the crowd intoned this vulgar phrase.

Lamenting migrants entering the United States illegally from other countries, Trump said he would “impose tariffs” on other countries that were “not behaving.” He noted that Biden had proposed a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants early in his term, prompting the crowd to boo loudly. “Treason!” a man shouted.

Kevin Munoz, a Biden campaign spokesman, said in a statement Thursday that Trump blocked “the strongest and fairest bipartisan border legislation in a generation” this year by turning congressional Republicans against the plan. of law. Some members of the Republican Party have acknowledged that they do not want to give Biden an election victory.

Trump warmly embraced on stage his longtime ally Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County who Trump pardoned in 2017. Arpaio, known for his aggressive tactics, was found in contempt of court for ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop detaining people. he only suspected they were undocumented immigrants.

“You speak from your heart,” Arpaio told Trump. He said the former president called his wife seven times while she was suffering from cancer, drawing murmurs of admiration from the crowd.

Trump also promised to reduce crime and uphold “law and order,” even though he did so. He attacked law enforcement, prosecutors and other officials involved in his legal cases. Sentencing for his New York conviction is set for mid-July; it is unclear whether any of his three other criminal cases will go to trial before the November election.

Biden’s campaign continued to highlight Trump’s belief Thursday while pursuing a broader case that focuses heavily on democratic standards and abortion rights. An event Thursday morning at one of Biden’s campaign offices in Phoenix featured former Phoenix Vice Mayor Peggy Neely, who said she was a lifelong Republican but became an independent because that she couldn’t stand Trump.

“He was extreme before Arizonans rejected him in 2020, and then he caved,” she said, calling for votes for Biden.

Biden’s victory in Arizona was the first by a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.

In a new interview with ABC News, the president said his opponent’s comments were “far-fetched.”

“He’s talking about himself — I’m talking about the country,” Biden said.

At Dream City Church, Trump was surrounded by fervent supporters and greeted by a group that embraced his false claims of victory in 2020. Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk urged the public to sign up for the operation “Chase the Vote” of his group and help guarantee it. that Trump supporters receive their ballots, including by mail.

But Trump and his allies in Arizona have vilified mail-in ballots for years, falsely claiming they led to massive fraud in 2020 and blaming them in part for Trump’s loss. In interviews, some participants said they remained very skeptical of mail-in voting, which was widespread in Arizona before the 2020 election.

A reporter for local news channel ABC15 told Trump in an interview Thursday that he has not arrested or imprisoned any political opponents during his term, although he has sometimes agreed with calls to “lock up” Hillary Clinton. The reporter asked if his approach had changed since his conviction. Trump said it would be “terrible” to imprison “the former president’s wife,” noting that her prosecution in New York could have been brought much sooner but was not, and concluded with : “When you ask me the question, would we do it? I’ll talk to you in about three years.

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