United States

Trump Tells Jersey Shore Crowd He's Being Forced To Endure 'Biden Show Trial' In Hush Money Case

Donald Trump rallied supporters at the Jersey Shore, blaming President Biden for his legal troubles. He characterized his cases as politically motivated, drawing a large crowd despite legal constraints.

File photo Photo: AP

Sandwiched between court appearances, Donald Trump headed to the Jersey Shore on Saturday, where he repeatedly blamed President Joe Biden for the criminal charges he's facing as both presumptive nominees gear up for the November election. Trump referred to his New York hush money case as “a Biden show trial.”

Blasting the Democratic president as “a total moron,” Trump, before a crowd of tens of thousands, characterized the cases against him as politically motivated and timed to hinder his campaigning efforts.

“He's a fool. He's not a smart man,” Trump said of Biden. “I talk about him differently now because now the gloves are off.”

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, drew what his team called a “mega crowd” to a Saturday evening rally in the southern New Jersey resort town of Wildwood, 150 miles (241 kilometers) south of the New York City courthouse where he has been forced to spend most weekdays sitting silently through his felony hush money trial.

Lisa Fagan, spokesperson for the city of Wildwood, told The Associated Press that she estimated a crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 attendees, based on her own observations on the scene Saturday, having seen “dozens” of other events in the same space.

Trump was joined on stage by several high-level endorsers, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who is still listed as a registered sex offender after pleading guilty in New York in 2011 to misdemeanor criminal charges of sexual misconduct and patronizing an underage prostitute.

The beachfront gathering, described by Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., as the largest political gathering in state history, was designed to serve as a show of force at a critical moment for Trump, who is facing dozens of felony charges in four separate criminal cases with the election less than six months away.

Hours before he was scheduled to take the stage, thousands of Trump loyalists donning “Never Surrender” T-shirts and red “Make America Great Again” hats crowded onto the sand between the boardwalk and carnival rides to greet the former Republican president.

“The everyday American people are 100% behind him,” said Doreen O'Neill, a 62-year-old nurse from Philadelphia.

“They have to cheat and smear him and humiliate him in that courtroom every single day,” O'Neill said. “This country is going to go insane if they steal the election again.”

Trump's extraordinary legal woes, which include three other unrelated criminal cases, have emerged as a central issue in the campaign.

Trump has repeatedly accused the Biden administration and Democratic officials in New York of using the legal system to block his return to the White House. Prosecutors allege the former president broke the law to conceal an affair with a porn actor that would have hurt his first presidential bid.

On Saturday, Trump suggested that even those whom he accuses of politically motivated prosecutions didn't bring every case they could have, pointing to the boosts his campaign has sustained with each wave of charges.

“I heard they were going to do a couple of other things and they said from Washington ... we're indicting him into the White House,'” Trump said. “They said, Don't do it.'”

While Trump seized on his legal woes Saturday, a judge's gag order — and the threat of jail — limit Trump's ability to comment publicly on witnesses, jurors, and some others connected to the New York trial, which is expected to consume much of the month. The judge in the case has already fined Trump $9,000 for violating the order and warned that jail could follow if he doesn't comply.

The order doesn't include references to Judge Juan M. Merchan, whom Trump called “highly conflicted,” or District Attorney Alvin Bragg, both of whom Trump said are “doing the bidding for crooked Joe Biden.”

Trump's responsibilities as a defendant have limited his ability to win over voters on the campaign trail.

He spent last week's off-day from court in the general election battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan. And he was campaigning with tens of thousands of voters Saturday in New Jersey, a reliably Democratic state. Parts of New Jersey have deep-red enclaves, and the southern shoreline, in particular, draws tourists and summer homeowners from neighboring Pennsylvania, a key swing state.

Biden, meanwhile, opened his weekend with a series of fundraising events on the West Coast.

He avoided Trump's legal challenges — as he has done consistently — while addressing donors in Seattle. Instead, the Democratic president focused on Trump's recent interview with Time magazine in which the Republican former president said states should be left to determine whether to prosecute women for abortions or to monitor their pregnancies.

Saturday's visit to the New Jersey Shore resort wasn't Trump's first.

While president, Trump held a rally there in January 2020 to thank Van Drew, the New Jersey congressman who had just left the Democratic Party for the GOP as a rebuke for the former president's first impeachment.


Trump drew a crowd at the time that lined the streets, filled bars, and supported numerous vendors in what is usually a sleepy city in the winter. This time, the summer season is around the corner for the resort known for its wide beaches and boardwalk games and shops.