Thoughts on Donald Trump's response to criminal charges

Donald Trump called the charges against him unprecedented election interference in a speech Tuesday night from his Mar-a-Lago home, just hours after pleading not guilty to nearly three dozen felony charges during his arraignment in New York City.

“I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” Trump told his supporters at his Florida residence. “The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”

Trump faces 34 charges related to allegations that he paid hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels through a lawyer seven years ago and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president. Trump offered his "not guilty" plea during his arraignment before Judge Juan Merchan in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Trump began his speech by pointing to the string of investigations and impediments that Democrats and federal law enforcement threw at him, drawing a comparison between the unfounded accusations like the debunked Russian dossier and the current legal prosecution.

“From the beginning, the Democrats spied on my campaign, remember that?” Trump said. “They attacked me with an onslaught of fraudulent investigations. Russia, Russia Russia. Ukraine… Impeachment hoax number one, impeachment hoax number two. The illegal and unconstitutional raid on Mar-a-Lago right here.”

Trump was impeached twice by the then Democrat-controlled U.S. House during his presidency, but was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate both times.

Trump also pointed to media reports that showed federal law enforcement working with social media companies to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story, which Trump said “exposes the Biden family as criminals” and would have swayed the election in his favor.

“And we remember the 51 intelligence agents who said Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation,” Trump said, pointing to an open letter signed by those agents making that assertion. “Russian disinformation, remember that? And that was all confirmed strongly by the FBI, when they all knew that it wasn’t Russian disinformation.”

The indictment was unsealed after Tuesday's arraignment. It alleges Trump falsified business records related to the hush money scheme.

Trump blasted New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Letisha James, attorney general for New York, both of whom promised to go after Trump while on the campaign trail.

“We have a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife whose daughter worked for Kamala Harris and now receives money from the Biden-Harris campaign, and a lot of it,” Trump said.

Trump’s speech hit political notes as well. He attacked President Joe Biden on the Afghanistan withdrawal, the border, the loss of energy independence, rising crime, and more.

Trump surrendered to New York Police before the arraignment after a grand jury voted to indict him last week, the first time a current or former president has been charged with a crime. Trump is also the 2024 Republican frontrunner for president.

During his speech, Trump also blasted the the investigation into his possession of classified documents from his time at president, arguing that he had the power as president to declassify them. He said Biden had classified documents as well from his time in the Obama administration but did not have the power to declassify as vice president.

Presidents should not be above the law, but neither should they face politically motivated charges.

Manhattan district attorneys campaigned on opposing Trump, bragging, “I have sued Trump more than a hundred times!” He suggested he would be best choice to get Trump before he even saw the evidence. That’s just wrong. Federal prosecutors did see the evidence and decided against charging Trump.

Using campaign funds to pay someone to keep silent about sex may well violate the rules, but most campaign finance rules are useless, and no serious person thinks this case would ever be brought against anyone other than Trump.

This is a slippery slope to banana republic.

On the other hand, Trump definitely is a horrible person.

In his real estate business, he cheated the little people, cleverly using our slow and expensive justice system to avoid paying what he owed.

As president, he was unpresidential and childish. He’s vain, selfish and mean. He doesn’t read or listen to advice from smart people, and he lies again and again. 

Yet it would be better for America if he were president today, instead of Joe Biden.

Nothing is more important to more people, especially the poor, than a solid dollar and a growing economy.

Trump’s presidency brought us closer to that than today’s Democrats ever will.

Trump knows how government can kill growth. He criticized “job-crushing regulations,” saying he’d eliminate two of them for every new one passed. He didn’t, but he did repeal some big ones: allowing more oil drilling, reducing the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate waterways that are barely waterways, ending Barack Obama’s regulations forcing automakers to make “greener” cars (Biden reimposed them), and allowing internet service providers to charge different rates for different services (repealing the destructive net neutrality).

His words alone sent a message: “Not everyone needs welfare. You can work!”

Under Obama, people stopped looking for work. Democrats’ message was: Poor people are victims of an unfair system; you need handouts.

Under Trump, people started working again. Six million Americans were hired. Unemployment dropped to a 50-year low.

Trump signed the First Step Act, reducing long prison sentences for drug-related offenses.

He appointed judges who believe in free speech and limited government.

Hooray for President Trump!

But then there’s the evil Trump.

He lies and breaks promises.

Trump promised he would “cut spending, big league” and then increased spending.

Biden’s been worse; this administration’s crazy spending is why inflation is killing your savings. But Trump was little better. He increased spending from an already astounding $4.1 trillion in 2017 to $6.55 trillion in 2020.

Trump promised to end America’s wars. He didn’t. In fact, he signed a massive $738 billion defense bill, bragging that it was “an all-time record!” At least Trump, unlike his predecessors, didn’t start new wars.

Trump imposed tariffs on China, ignorantly claiming they’d protect American consumers. Instead, the tariffs punished American consumers and businesses. So Trump then gave billions of your dollars to farmers and others hurt by his tariffs.

Finally, Trump refused to accept the results of the election. For 224 years, our country has had a peaceful transfer of power. Trump ended that.

He told his supporters, “Fight like hell.”

On Jan. 6, he did tell them to “peacefully” march to the Capitol, but when things got ugly, he did nothing. Only hours later did he post a video asking protesters to go home.

Today he shows no remorse for any of the nasty things he did.