Donald Trump vows ‘retribution’ and will stay in 2024 race if he faces criminal charges
Donald Trump is vowing to stay in the 2024 presidential race even if he is indicted in any of the multiple criminal investigations bearing down on him.
“Absolutely, I wouldn’t even think about leaving,” the former president told reporters ahead of his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, speculating that being the target of a criminal indictment could even “enhance” his poll numbers.
During his remarks, Mr Trump vowed to take revenge against Democrats, the media, and even fellow Republicans who opposed him.
“In 2016, I declared: I am your voice,” he told the crowd. “Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution.”
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Mr Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in late 2022, immediately following the midterm election contests which saw several of his chosen congressional candidates go down in flames.
Republican donors are reportedly hoping to move on from the former president and his brand of conservatism, but as of yet a credible alternative has yet to announce their candidacy.
Polls suggest Mr Trump remains the frontrunner in the 2024 GOP field, followed closely by the ascendant Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a former ally.
Criminal indictments are expected any moment from a Georgia investigation into the Trump campaign’s efforts to sway election tallies during the 2020 presidential contest, including an infamous phone call between Mr Trump and the Georgia Secretary of State which took place in early 2021.
On that call, Mr Trump famously asked Republican Brad Raffensperger to “find” nearly 12,000 votes which he would have needed to steal the state from Joe Biden.
In January, a grand jury impaneled to investigate potential election crimes in the state concluded its work.
The jury foreperson, Emily Kohrs, has hinted that the former president could be on the chopping block.
“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” Emily Kohrs, foreperson of the jury, told the New York Times of who would be indicted. “You won’t be too surprised.”
“We definitely started with the first phone call, the call to Secretary Raffensperger that was so publicized,” she added.
The Department of Justice is also looking at the efforts to overturn the 2020 election by Mr Trump’s team, and in particular the attack on Congress which occurred on January 6, 2021. The House select committee to investigate that attack recommended that Mr Trump be charged with giving comfort to an insurrection, among other charges.
Mr Trump has long claimed that any effort to investigate him by any legal authority is a “witch hunt” by his Democratic enemies to prevent him from winning office.
The FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate last year as part of a third, entirely separate investigation into his handling of presidential records, including classified documents, which has since expanded to ensnare both President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence in similar embarrassing discoveries of classified materials at their residences.