Donald Trump calls 3 indictments ‘badge of honor’ in Alabama GOP dinner speech
The former president predicts a pending fourth indictment could help him secure the presidency in 2024
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Former U.S. President Donald Trump was the keynote speaker at the Alabama GOP’s Summer Dinner fundraising event Friday night, helping the party rake in a record-breaking $1.2 million and shatter attendance records for such events in the state.
Trump, whose private jet landed at Montgomery Regional Airport around 5:10 p.m., traveled by motorcade to the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Montgomery where he spoke before an audience of 2,700 people, many who started lining up hours before to get their seats.
ALGOP leadership, including Gov. Kay Ivey and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth were among those in attendance, as were other state lawmakers and Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation.
Alabama’s senior U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville introduced Trump to applause around 7:15 p.m. and the former president spoke off the cuff about a number of campaign promises, the looming criminal investigations he’s facing, and other topics for approximately an hour.
ALGOP Chairman John Wahl said Friday that Trump is a very loved candidate in the Yellowhammer State, so many of his supporters believe that the criminal indictments filed against him are being used as a political tool to destroy his campaign and to keep him from running for re-election. The chairman added the charges against Trump in connection of the 2020 election and Jan. 6 insurrection makes him concerned about the integrity of the justice system upholding the first amendment.
“If Donald Trump has a difference of opinion on whether there was or not election fraud, that’s a free speech issue,” Wahl said. “He should be able to have that difference of opinion. When you see any government get into regulating free speech -- what someone should think -- even if it’s a former president, I have serious concerns about that.”
Trump made no attempts to hide or minimize the three historic criminal indictments he’s faced, calling them a “badge of honor” and indicating a fourth indictment, presumably one expected in the near future out of a Georgia state prosecutor’s office, would push his approval numbers so high that he would win the 2024 election.
The speech touched on Trump’s opponents in the GOP nominee race, with him indicating his poll numbers are so high that he may not debate any of them. He also railed on DOJ Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, responsible for his federal indictments, calling him a “deranged, sick person.”
Trump also attacked President Joe Biden, calling him the “most incompetent and corrupt president in U.S. history,” and saying on the first day of a new Trump presidency, he would appoint a special prosecutor to study “the Biden crime family.”
Trump offered a number of pieces of political red meat to his conservative audience, including promises to cut 87,000 IRS agents, an end to the Russia/Ukraine war in a single day, “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” and the closure of the U.S. Department of Education.
Perhaps no other statement brought as much applause to the audience as Trump’s promise to expand Interstate 65 to six lanes from Huntsville to Mobile, a massive undertaking that would take years and large sums of money to complete.
Trump, who has a commanding lead in multiple polls, remains the GOP frontrunner and odds-on favorite to challenge Biden for re-election in just over a year.
Alabama has remained steadfast in its support of the former president, giving him its nine electoral votes during both the 2016 and 2020 election cycles. The former president last visited Alabama in 2021 when he attended the Cullman Trump rally.
Tickets to the sold out Montgomery fundraiser varied in price from $250 per person or more expensive group packages ranging from the $5,000 “Gold Sponsor” to $50,000 for the “Round-Table with President Trump” package.
The packages included:
- Gold Sponsor - A table for 8, priority seating, reception passes and sponsor recognition
- VIP Photo Click Sponsor - Everything from the Gold package plus a photo with up to four people
- Round-Table with President Trump - Everything from VIP package and a round-table experience
Trump’s visit to Alabama comes the day after his historic third criminal indictment and arrest following his 2020 re-election campaign. The former president was indicted on four felony counts on Thursday before a federal judge in Washington, D.C. He’s accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of attempting to overturn the 2020 election results.
Prior to that, Trump was indicted in June as part of the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into classified documents found at his Florida estate. In that case, Trump is facing 37 counts of mishandling classified documents.
In April, New York prosecutors charged Trump with 34 felony counts in an alleged hush money scheme to bury allegations of extramarital affairs that arose during his first White House campaign.
It is widely expected that the former president will soon be indicted in a fourth case, this one as part of a Georgia prosecutor’s investigation into allegations Trump and allies attempted to overturn that state’s 2020 election results.
Despite mounting legal battles, Trump has pleaded not guilty in each indictment. He and Republican allies have railed against the investigations, calling them political persecution designed to keep him from winning another term in the White House.
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