Biden on Trump guilty verdict: ‘Reckless’ to say trial was rigged

Video caption, ‘Reckless’ to say Trump verdict was ‘rigged’ – Biden

  • Author, Rachel Looker
  • Role, BBC News, Washington

US President Joe Biden has said it was “reckless” for his predecessor, Donald Trump, to call his trial rigged, a day after the historic conviction.

In his first public remarks about the guilty verdict for Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records, Mr Biden defended the justice system.

“The American principle that no-one is above the law was reaffirmed,” said Mr Biden of Thursday’s outcome.

Earlier on Friday, Trump delivered a fiery news conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan, calling the judge “crooked”, the trial a “sham” and Democrats “thugs”.

Mr Biden’s comments on Friday afternoon came at the beginning of a White House news conference where he discussed the Middle East and a new Israeli proposal for Gaza.

Mr Biden said his Republican opponent in November’s presidential election had been given “every opportunity” to defend himself and be heard by a jury of 12 American citizens, and has no right to complain that the process was not fair.

“It’s reckless. It’s dangerous. It’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” he said, adding that Trump is welcome to file an appeal.

Mr Biden, who has rarely spoken publicly about Trump’s legal troubles, defended the justice system, calling it the “cornerstone of America”.

“The justice system should be respected and we should never allow anyone to tear it down. It’s as simple as that. That’s America. That’s who we are,” he said.

Trump spoke briefly outside the court on Thursday to claim he had been unfairly treated and that it should have been a “non-case”.

He slammed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for bringing it to court.

“This was a disgrace, this was a rigged trial,” he said.

Trump reiterated his complaints at Friday’s news conference, in which he did not take questions from reporters and confirmed his team would appeal the conviction.

He repeated that the trial was “rigged” and argued that the New York case was politically motivated and a “witch hunt”.

He added that one witness called by his defence team was “literally crucified” and told his supporters that if “they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone”.

Video caption, Americans across the US react to Trump’s guilty conviction

Both Mr Biden and Trump are seeking to ramp up donations to their campaigns following Thursday’s verdict.

Mr Biden took to X, formerly Twitter, on Friday to post a fundraising link to ActBlue, a Democratic fundraising tool.

“Donald Trump is threatening our democracy. First, he questioned our election system. Then, he questioned our judicial system. And now, you can stop him,” he posted.

The Biden campaign also pushed out fundraising requests following Trump’s guilty verdict on Thursday in an effort to swell the Democratic candidate’s coffers.

“If you have been waiting for the perfect time to make your first donation to Joe Biden’s reelection campaign, we’re here to tell you today is the day,” one text message blast read.

Trump’s campaign said it raised more than $34.8 million in six hours after the guilty verdict – roughly half of what the campaign made in the entire month of April.

It said the money mostly came from small donors, and that 30% of the funds came via WinRed, the Republican Party’s fundraising platform.

Trump’s Truth Social account posted fundraising requests within a few minutes of his conviction.

“I AM A POLITICAL PRISONER,” one post read.

His campaign has also sent out emails, asking for donations: “But with your support at this moment in history, WE WILL WIN BACK THE WHITE HOUSE AND MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Trump’s digital fundraising system had a record number of supporters following the guilty verdict on Thursday afternoon, according to Trump campaign senior adviser Brian Hughes.

The increase in traffic caused intermittent delays, he added.

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