Trump Is Down but Not Out as He Continues Presidential Campaign

May 31, 2024 by Tom Ramstack
Trump Is Down but Not Out as He Continues Presidential Campaign
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump Tower, Friday, May 31, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump and his supporters are saying he might have lost in a New York court Thursday but he is far from being out as a presidential candidate.

He pledged during a press conference at Trump Tower Friday to push ahead with his campaign to resolve lapses in Biden administration policies he described as “fascist.” He also said he would appeal his criminal conviction.

“If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” Trump said in a rambling, 35-minute presentation. “These are bad people. These are, in many cases, I believe, sick people.”

He called his former attorney, the prosecution’s star witness, a “sleazebag.”

He briefly discussed his campaign rhetoric denouncing Biden administration failures to stop illegal immigration and unfair trade practices with China.

Trump also continued the tough talk that has won him friends and enemies.

“So we’re going to show them that we’re going to fight. … It’s something where I’m wired in such a way that a lot of people would have gone away a long time ago,” he said.

Among his supporters who defended Trump after his conviction was House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

He suggested that the Supreme Court intervene to rectify what he called the “shameful” verdict against Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to two women who say they had sex with him.

“I do believe the Supreme Court should step in,” Johnson told Fox News. “I think they’ll set this straight but it’s going to take a while.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “These charges never should have been brought in the first place.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., blamed partisan politics for Trump’s conviction. She said the jury’s decision “shows how corrupt, rigged and unAmerican the weaponized justice system has become under Joe Biden and the Democrats.”

Democrats described the verdict as unfortunate for the U.S. political system but a victory for the rule of law.

One of them was President Joe Biden, who said during a Friday press conference, “The American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed.”

He responded to allegations of partisan politics in the verdict by saying it was “dangerous” to say the trial was “rigged.”

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., wrote on X, “I predicted three years ago at a speech with the Human Rights Campaign that Stormy Daniels would be the one to get Trump, my faith in the criminal justice system has been strengthened!”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Trump is the only one who should be blamed for criminal charges against him.

“He’s committed multiple crimes and he’s going to be convicted multiple times,” he said.

Now speculation among politicians and legal analysts is what’s next for Trump and his presidential campaign.

Nothing in the Constitution would prevent him from getting reelected.

Judge Juan Merchan set Trump’s sentencing for July 11, only days before the Republican National Committee’s convention July 15 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump remains the leading candidate to be chosen as the 2024 GOP nominee.

Recent surveys give different percentages but a majority show his supporters say a criminal conviction would not dissuade them from voting for Trump.

His supporters say Trump continues to be the best hope to stop illegal immigration and to improve the economy.

“The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people,” Trump said as he spoke with the media outside the courtroom Thursday afternoon.

Trump was released on his own recognizance but a lingering question is whether he will retain his freedom after the July 11 sentencing.

Legal analysts say the judge is unlikely to imprison Trump because he has no criminal record and he was convicted only of nonviolent felonies.

If he avoids jail, he is less likely to avoid probation. Probation would mean Trump must report to the New York City Department of Probation in person on a regular basis, which would create a major obstacle to his reelection campaign.

A third possibility would be for the judge to grant Trump a conditional discharge. It means Trump could remain free with no probationary supervision as long as he breaks no other laws.

When Trump appeals, it could mean the judge stays Trump’s sentence until the appeals process is completed, possibly after Election Day.

You can reach us at [email protected] and follow us on Facebook and X.

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