Donald Trump’s 25-minute speech delivered at his Mar-a-Lago compound on Wednesday, following his indictment on felony charges in New York, marks his dramatic return to the center of American politics.
After languishing in the doldrums for the past few years, Trump is now back in the game with a vengeance – thanks to the decision by New York Attorney General Alvin Bragg to charge him with 34 counts of falsifying business records. Bragg’s controversial decision to prosecute Trump may well turn out to be one of the most consequential misjudgements by a public official in recent American history.
Trump’s speech on Wednesday was a bravura performance. In apocalyptic tones – “our country is going to hell” – Trump painted a picture of a corrupt, crime-ridden and weak America, foolishly promoting a dangerous and unnecessary conflict in Ukraine, hurtling towards self-destruction. The US, Trump asserted, is a “failing nation … a nation in decline.”
Trump himself is at the center of this grim prognosis proclaiming himself as the only politician who can “save our country.” In order to prevent this, he claimed, the elites responsible for America’s current state of decline, including the Democrats, the FBI, the Department of Justice, George Soros, Facebook and Twitter, have now conspired to use a corrupt legal system to thwart his reelection. “They can’t beat us at the ballot box so they try and beat us through the law,” he said.
It is hardly surprising that Trump should turn his destructive ire upon the American legal system. He has always held contempt for the rule of law. Who can forget his boasting of having stacked the Supreme Court and his subsequent denunciation of his own appointees when they refused to legally sanction his claim that the 2020 election had been stolen? But in this speech, he went further than he has ever gone before.
Read more: Donald Trump’s Prosecution Has Propelled Him Back into the Electoral Game. Yes, I noticed that. Mmmm.