Donald Trump has turned every attempt by prosecutors to put his alleged crimes before a jury into a spectacle that has benefited him financially and contributed to his persecution narrative.
His latest arrest in Georgia is no different.
According to Trump campaign sources, the ex-president has raised more than $7m in donations, merchandise sales and through other means since last Thursday, when Mr Trump appeared in Fulton County, Georgia, to surrender on a number of felony counts.
He is charged with numerous crimes in Georgia related to his effort to alter the state’s 2020 election results and, failing that, to have the state cast its Electoral College votes for him anyway. He has denied committing any crimes in this and the three other criminal cases currently against him.
Ahead of a criminal trial in Georgia, Mr Trump once again turned to social media and his legion of followers to capitalise off his latest misfortuned. That effort came in the form of t-shirts and other merch bearing the historic and surreal mugshot taken by Fulton County police last week, a stunning “first” for the US presidency. His arrest picture was even the catalyst that drew Mr Trump to make his return to Twitter (now “X”), something he had vowed not to do.
Politico first reported that the campaign’s post-arrest fundraising total had passed $7m, with $4.18m alone occurring on Saturday which officials for the Trump campaign said was the best single day total for Mr Trump’s team so far. Email blasts, text messages and other direct advertising was rolled out in a massive effort by Trumpworld to generate as much support and money as possible, the latter being especially important given the ex-president’s climbing legal costs.
Mr Trump’s money haul over the weekend is likely to give his rivals pause as the contenders in the 2024 GOP field writ large try to gain some much-needed traction in the wake of a Trump-less debate in Milwaukee last week. The ex-president was the only prominent GOP candidate to not attend, citing his dominance in the polls and essentially declaring the race decided.
While a number of Republican candidates have seen some success in early caucus states, they continue to battle for second place as Mr Trump continues to dominate both national and statewide polling of the race. As it stands, Mr Trump is the wide favourite to win the 2024 GOP nomination despite (or perhaps because) of the continued efforts of law enforcement to hold him legally accountable for his actions, many of which were taken publicly or have since been supported by recordings or other evidence.
GOP voters, according to polls, largely view the now nearly 100 felony counts against Mr Trump as politically motivated. The counts span a wide range of issues, with the first indictment to drop actually relating to actions allegedly taken by Mr Trump during and shortly after his first campaign for president in 2016.
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