During his second campaign-style rally after his presidency ended in January, Donald Trump raged against New York prosecutors targeting his Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, who pleaded not guilty this week to a range of criminal charges related to a years-long tax fraud probe.
After his company’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday, the former president dismissed the case as “prosecutorial misconduct” but appeared to acknowledge the charges against him and his company.
“You didn’t pay tax on the car or a company apartment ... you didn’t pay tax, or education for your grandchildren,” he said at his rally in Sarasota, Florida on 3 July. “Does anybody know the answer to that stuff?”
The president held his rally across the state from emergency crews still searching for survivors in the wake of a building collapse north of Miami.
Governor Ron DeSantis – a staunch ally of Mr Trump – did not attend the rally, and the governor’s aides allegedly asked the former president to postpone the event as the tragedy unfolds.
At least 24 people are dead and crews are searching for at least 121 people at the site of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside.
Following a brief moment of silence for the victims, Mr Trump – echoing his dark American vision from his July 4 remarks at Mount Rushmore in 2020 – listed a series of baseless claims suggesting his supporters are under attack in his apocalyptic vision of the state of the US: “religious liberty is being crushed,” “dissenters are being persecuted,” and “bloodthirsty criminals” are taking over American cities.
In rambling remarks over more than 90 minutes, the former president revived his voter fraud lies and a “stolen” election narrative that suggested Joe Biden is not the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election.
He condemned the president’s immigration policies and a rise in migrants to the US-Mexico border following a crisis point in Mr Trump’s own administration, and he lambasted “critical race theory” as “pure, plain racism”.
Mr Trump also said the president’s infrastructure plan would “annihilate America’s suburbs” – reviving his racist fear mongering over plans to eliminate barriers to racial segregation in suburban housing.
He also claimed, without any apparent self-awareness, that Republicans have been targeted by “disinformation” which he described without a trace of irony as “if you say it enough and keep saying it ... they’ll start to believe you.”
Read live updates from The Independent as they happened
Officials will demolish remainder of collapsed Florida condo before tropical storm hits
Florida officials have announced plans to demolish the still-standing portion of Champlain Towers South condo building ahead of concerns that a tropical storm could impact the safety of rescue workers.
Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference on Saturday that the state would pay for costs of the demolition, which will take place within the next 36 hours.
Danielle Zoellner reports:
‘This building is too unsafe to let people go back in,’ Governor Ron DeSantis says
Arizona official ignored Trump attempts to sway results, report says
A month after Arizona certified its election results in the 2020 presidential race, Donald Trump tried to call a top state election official twice, but was ignored, according to a new report.
Josh Marcus reports:
A bipartisan group of officials certified the election results a month before the calls, which went to voicemail
Five takeaways from the indictments of the Trump Organization and CFO Alan Weisselberg
New York City prosecutors unveiled a host of charges aimed at the Trump Organization and the company’s longtime CFO, Alan Weisselberg, at a brief court appearance on Thursday.
John Bowden breaks down five takeaways from the long-simmering criminal case against the ex-president’s company.
Here are the top 5 takeaways from the indictments of the Trump Organization and CFO Alan Weisselberg
The charges are likely aimed at securing the cooperation of the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer
It’s raining in Sarasota
Crowds waited hours to attend Trump’s rally and listen to a carousel of figures from the extended Trump universe before the ex-president’s remarks at 8 pm EST.
Governor Ron DeSantis is skipping Donald Trump’s Florida rally due to the Miami building collapse
“We can confirm that the Governor will not attend the rally in Sarasota.”
Trump’s man in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis, won’t attend the ex-president’s rally.
“He spoke with President Trump, who agreed that this was the right decision, as the Governor’s duty is to be in Surfside making sure the families and community have what they need in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse,” said DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw said in a statement.
DeSantis did convene with President Joe Biden this week during the president’s visit to the state.
Danielle Zoellner reports:
‘We can confirm that the Governor will not attend the rally in Sarasota,’ a spokesperson says
Trump adviser Peter Navarro previews Trump remarks on Newsmax
Peter Navarro – who spread baseless election fraud claims in the White House and amplified coronavirus conspiracy theories while telling Americans they had “nothing to worry about” at the onset of the crisis – told Newsmax that Americans are “absolutely livid” because Joe Biden is “attacking the US military” with “critical race theory”.
He says that topic, the subject of Republicans’ latest culture war, will loom large in Trump’s speech.
Donald Trump Jr presides over ‘Trump won’ chant and suggests Biden did not win presidency
Donald Trump Jr – days after his company was indicted in a years-long tax fraud case – is presiding over the crowd’s chants of “CNN sucks,” “Trump won” and “lock him up,” about Dr Anthony Fauci, before his father speaks at a rally crowd in Sarasota, Florida.
He suggested Joe Biden did not win the presidency, continuing the ex-president’s ongoing, baseless conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from him, which inspired a violent mob to swarm the US Capitol.
Here’s what Trump said at his first return to rallies after he left the White House
Trump returned to his familiar conspiracy theory mongering about a “rigged” 2020 election and lashed out at new targets like critical race theory and his own conservative Supreme Court at a comeback rally in Ohio earlier this month.
He also vowed, as has been apparent for months now, that he would “never stop fighting” to challenge the 2020 election results, which numerous analyses, bipartisan expert testimonies, lawsuits, and audits have declared free of any meaningful irregularities.
“We’ll never stop fighting for the true results in this election,” the former president said. “I’m not the one trying to undermine American democracy. I’m the one that’s trying to save American democracy,” adding, “Who the hell knows what will happen in 2024? We’re not going to have a country left. If we don’t figure it out, we won’t be in a position to win in 2022.”
Here’s the report from The Independent’s Josh Marcus:
Trump tells Ohio rally he’s ‘ashamed’ of conservative Supreme Court he appointed for denying election lawsuits
The former president spread more 2020 election conspiracy theories, trashed his hand-picked Supreme Court, and railed against critical race theory at a comeback rally in Ohio
Trump calls Mitch McConnell ‘weak’ because he didn’t reject election results
In an interview with right-wing network Newsmax before his rally speech, Trump repeated his false “rigged” election claim and called GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “weak” because he didn’t challenge election results.
DeSantis issues state of emergency as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 15 counties as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches the state with expected landfall early next week. It could strengthen as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico.
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