Trump Follows Up 34-Count Conviction With 30-Minute Free Association Ramble

In his first major address since being convicted on 34 felony counts, Donald Trump went on a free-wheeling, 30-minute, free-association journey.

Speaking at the base of the escalator in Trump Tower on Friday, the former president reflected on his legal peril and told the fawning crowd, “If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone.”

Trump meant the message as a warning, apparently failing to understand that equal treatment under the law is a core ideal of democracy and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

He then veered into an anti-immigrant rant and claimed without evidence that people are “coming in from mental institutions and insane asylums.” He went on to say (again, without evidence) that “they” — it was not clear who he was referring to — “want to stop you having cars.”

Finding his footing once more, Trump returned to the trial and relitgated many of his now-familiar gripes. He called the trial “very unfair,” complained about the gag order he repeatedly violated until he was threatened with jail time, and disputed the core facts of the case.

“This is the crime I’m supposed to go jail for 187 years for!?!” he said incredulously at one point. (It’s unclear how he arrived at the number. New York rarely imprisons people for falsifying business records; when it does, the maximum sentence is capped at four years per record, with sentences typically served concurrently.)

At one point he attacked Judge Juan Merchan, saying he “looks like an angel, but he’s really the devil.”

The religious imagery carried over to his portrayal of the defense witnesses, whom he believed the court treated unfairly.

“You saw what happened to some of the witnesses on our side,” he told the crowd. “They were literally crucified.”

Trump didn’t testify in his own defense, despite publicly proclaiming he would do so. He attempted to explain that in his speech Friday.

“I would’ve testified, I wanted to testify,” he said, before explaining he didn’t want to open himself up to likely perjury charges. Trump also said he was worried about being asked, “Was he a bad boy here? Was he a bad boy there?”

Trump also boasted about a poll that suggested his conviction resulted in a 6% favorability boost for him. He referenced the finding twice in his remarks, seemingly forgetting the second time he mentioned the poll that he’d already done so.

Then, while dwelling on the fate of former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, Trump began thinking about cars again. Weisselberg served a 100-day sentence in 2023 for failing to pay taxes on luxury items supposedly “gifted” to him by the Trump Organization, including cars.

“He didn’t report that he had a car, or two cars, on his income,” Trump rambled. “I don’t know. I wonder how many people here have cars? I wonder how many people here said, ‘Oh, gee, I have a car — that’s worth X dollars.’ How do you even figure it?”

The Biden campaign seized on Trump’s performance shortly after he concluded.

Biden-Harris 2024 Communications Director Michael Tyler described Trump as “confused, desperate, and defeated.”

“Donald Trump is sowing chaos, attacking the rule of law, and fighting for the only thing in the world he gives a damn about: Donald Trump,” he said in a statement.

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