Trump’s first rally since Mar-a-Lago attack gathers diehard fans: ‘They don’t want Trump to win’

fFormer President Donald Trump was ostensibly in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to look for Republican candidates in the November state ballot.

But the search for other Republicans took a notable backseat as the former president defiantly defended himself in his first campaign rally since the FBI issued a search warrant at his home in Mar-a-Lago, and his staunchest supporters showed up to show their solidarity. with the man they consider the legitimate winner of the 2020 election.

“The Biden administration has invaded the home of their main political opponent, who is absolutely destroying him and everyone else in the polls,” Trump told an elated crowd at the Mohegan Sun Arena, who were greeted with an echo. “They’re trying to silence me and, more importantly, they’re trying to silence you.”

Many of Trump’s sharpest outbursts against the FBI or “the deep state” often propelled supporters to their feet, with many wearing “Make America Great Again” hats or saying “Trump won” in reference to the big lie that the Democrats had the 2020 presidential election. stolen. election.

Wilkes-Barre is located in Luzerne County, one of the white working-class neighborhoods that traditionally voted for Democrats but turned Trump in 2016 and 2020, even though President Joe Biden cut some of his margin of victory in the last election.

Mr Trump’s speech was ostensibly intended to rally supporters for candidates he supported, such as Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and governor candidate Doug Mastriano. Both races serve as a great litmus test as Mr. Trump supported both candidates in their primaries, but both have consistently followed their Democratic opponents in the general election, causing the GOP to panic.

But although they spoke later in the rally, it was clear there were supporters for the Trump show. Even as people poured into the arena, supporters chanted “Let’s Go Brandon,” the term used by Trump supporters that code for “F**k Joe Biden,” while others wore shirts that read “You got the wrong one.” attacking the president’.

“I feel like the FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service, I don’t care who you say — they’re all in bed with the Democrats,” Patty SantaBarbara said after the meeting. She and her friend Paola Ciaschetti traveled to Pennsylvania from upstate New York. While she said she didn’t think individual agents were in bed with Democrats, the leaders were.

“There was no reason to go into that man’s house, into his wife’s bedroom,” said Mrs. SantaBarbara.

Trump’s words came days after the Justice Department released a court file That being said it had evidence that government documents were probably moved hinder her investigation.

The filing said the FBI turned up twice as many documents as Mr Trump’s lawyers was turned over and that some documents were so sensitive that Justice Department personnel charged with reviewing them had to wait for special security clearances.

FBI agents also found 90 folders once containing extremely sensitive documents among the 27 boxes they removed from Mr Trump’s Palm Beach estate.

“They were talking about documents that were not properly preserved,” Trump said. “Yet they go in and grab documents, dump them on the floor, organize a photo shoot and pretend I did it, like I put them all on the floor.”

This, of course, ignored the very gist of the Justice Department’s allegations that he or his team allegedly moved the documents. Likewise, Mr Trump showed no signs of changing position. Christina Bobb and Alina Habba, both attorneys assisting him in his anti-government efforts, were in attendance despite their often legally shoddy appearances on Fox News or other right-wing media outlets.

But Trump defended his actions to the crowd.

“Our movement is fighting against a corrupt group of unelected tyrants who believe they can exercise absolute power over you with the help of a willing and highly corrupt media,” he said. “They think that the deep state, not the citizens, should be the real masters of this country.”

Michelle McNulty came to the rally from Dickson City, Pennsylvania, echoing the sentiment.

“I think it’s strange because they don’t want Trump to win,” said Michelle The independent before the rally. “That’s why they went there when he was on vacation.”

Mr Trump gave the floor to Dr Oz and Mr Mastriano. He criticized Dr. Oz, John Fetterman, who he said dresses “like a teenager getting high in his parents’ basement”.

“Fetterman supports taxpayer-funded drug depots and the full decriminalization of illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and ultra-lethal fentanyl,” he said. said. “And by the way, he takes them himself.”

At the same time, Mr. Mastriano, a longtime supporter of the president, who was in Washington on Jan. 6 – although he has said he has left the Capitol, said before the violence started — elicited much stronger applause. Conversely, someone in the audience shouted that Dr Oz was a “RINO” – a Republican in name only – which Marleen Laska repeated after the rally.

“I don’t trust him to do the right thing for America, America first,” she said The independent. Still, she said she intended to vote for him. “I have to vote for him because, you know, we should at least get a RINO instead of Fetterman.”

The crowd often chanted “lock her up” or interrupted Mr Trump in the middle of his speech to destroy Mr Trump’s enemies. The crowd often reached fever pitch and he garnered numerous standing ovations throughout the rally.

The former president also swinging this week against President Biden’s speech, which rejected right-wing extremism.

“There is only one party waging war in American democracy by censoring free speech and criminalizing dissent,” he said. “Disarming law-abiding citizens, issuing lawless mandates and unconstitutional orders, incarcerating political protesters. That’s what they’re doing: rigging elections, arming justice and the FBI like never before, and raiding and breaking into the homes of their political opponents. I wonder who that could be.”

At the same time, he also noted how he beat Mr Biden in the polls.

“So maybe I should just do it again,” he told the audience.

There is probably little anyone could say to convince Trump’s most devoted supporters. Richard Morholt, who attended the meeting, reiterated Mr Trump’s frequent lies about his release of documents.

“He has the power to classify and declassify anything he wishes in his records,” Morholt said The independent after the rally. He also noted that Mr. Biden was a “D student” – it is true that Mr. Biden got an F for a course after admitting plagiarism but retaking the course – while Trump was an A student, whose again no evidence as he was never a top student at the University of Pennsylvania. But that truth, like the truth about the law, will probably turn out to be immaterial.

Andrew Feinberg contributed to this report

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