The 2024 election campaign for former president Donald Trump has used a video of his appearance in a Manhattan criminal court this week as the basis for a new ad.
Trump’s indictment was revealed last week by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and on Tuesday the former president was arraigned in a New York court.
Over how he allegedly arranged payments to purchase the quiet of individuals preparing to come out with unflattering claims about him during the 2016 presidential race, Trump is now accused of falsifying 34 company documents, which carries felony-level penalties. Tuesday’s arraignment session in Manhattan saw Trump enter a “not guilty” plea.
The one-minute political advertisement features footage of Trump coming through New York City with his secret service detail and his entrance into the courtroom, as well as voice-overs from political analysts opposing Bragg’s case.
The audio files show Fox News commentator Sean Hannity stating, “Bragg’s idiotic, small-minded prosecution—this will likely all backfire, in fact it already is backfiring.”
Another commentator argues in a voiceover tape that “Americans are very smart people and they see what’s going on,” while a third piece claims that “This is a persecution disguised as a prosecution.”
The former president’s own voice-over can be heard as the commercial progresses to the video footage of Trump entering the courtroom, stating, “The only crime that I have done is to boldly protect our country from those who wish to destroy it. And now these law enforcement-using extreme leftists want to meddle in our elections.
Trump’s voice-over continues as the camera pans away from the New York courtroom and focuses on hundreds of people who had gathered in Florida to see the former president speak on Tuesday night after being arraigned there.
In his voice-over, Trump described the investigation against him as “a very dark cloud over our beloved country,” adding, “I have no doubt, however, that we will make America great again.”
When the case against Trump has been criticized, Bragg’s office responded. Asserting that “the charges filed yesterday were brought by citizens of New York, doing their civic duty as members of a grand jury, who found probable cause to accuse Mr. Trump of having committed crimes in New York,” Leslie Dubeck, an attorney for Bragg’s office, said in a letter on March 31 (pdf).
As with any other defendant, Dubeck said, “Mr. Trump is entitled to contest these allegations in court and to take advantage of all procedures and safeguards provided by New York State’s comprehensive criminal procedure.”
Trump Raises Money with the Indictment
Trump and his allies have often charged that Bragg’s decision to accuse the former president was motivated by political animus. The prosecution of Bragg comes as Trump is aggressively trying to get the White House back in 2024 and is now in the lead in numerous recent surveys about the 2024 Republican Primary.
The Trump campaign already uses the prosecution as a rallying cry. Bragg’s attempts to prosecute Trump have drawn criticism from a number of Republican leaders, including many known and prospective 2024 presidential primary rivals.
Since the revelation of the indictment, polling data has shown a rise in support for Trump among Republican primary voters.
Additionally, it was claimed that the Trump campaign raised $7 million in the first three days after Bragg’s office announced on March 30 that the former president had been indicted. $4 million allegedly was donated to the campaign on only the first day.
There are already shirts, mugs, and a poster with a fictitious black-and-white photo of Trump’s arrest with the slogan “NOT GUILTY” available on one website for the Trump 2024 campaign.
The Manhattan lawsuit may strengthen Trump’s popularity within the Republican base, but it is unclear how the accusations will affect other voters.
According to a recent Quinnipiac University survey of Americans, 62 percent of respondents—including 70 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats—thought Bragg’s case against Trump was largely driven by politics.
Despite the fact that most Americans believe Bragg’s case to be political, a Quinnipiac survey revealed that 57 percent of respondents said that Trump should be barred from running for office again if he faces criminal charges, as opposed to 38 percent who disagreed.