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“Greatest Comeback”: Trump Fans Stay Loyal Despite Mounting Allegations

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'Greatest Comeback': Trump Supporters Stay Loyal Despite Mounting Allegations

Trump fans greeted him on Tuesday at his New Jersey golf club

Bedminster, New Jersey:

They drank beer, shouted “We love you,” and even sang “Happy Birthday” — several hundred Donald Trump fans greeted their idol Tuesday at his New Jersey golf club after the former US president’s historic arraignment on federal charges.

Trump appeared tired as he took to the stage at the Bedminster site around 8:45 pm (0045 GMT) to address his supporters after flying from Miami, where the 2024 White House candidate appeared in court on 37 counts related to the misuse of classified documents.

But his admirers — many in formal attire, others looking like they had just walked off the 18th green next to where Trump spoke — tried their best to hype up their hero.

“Happy Birthday!” shouted one, referring to Trump’s 77th birthday on Wednesday.

“Yeah nice birthday. Wonderful birthday!” Trump replied sarcastically.

The crowd then burst into a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” cheering when Trump said: “We’re going to make it into the greatest birthday of all time!”

The gathering was a mixture of Trump friends, such as My Pillow businessman Mike Lindell and Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew, plus local Republicans and members of his exclusive country club.

Others came from further afield, such as Betty Nguyen, who drove from Texas.

The 59-year-old was one of about 100 members of the conservative organization Vietnamese American for America First who traveled from different parts of the country to see their champion.

“I love him because he loves the USA,” she told AFP.

Despite the seriousness of the charges Trump faced earlier in the day, Tuesday night’s event had a mildly celebratory feel to it.

Attendees laughed, drank wine and took selfies. Some families even brought babies in strollers, while others danced as YMCA blared out of speakers.

The gathering, however, lacked the energy and size of one of his now-iconic campaign rallies.

‘Travesty’

The event doubled as a fundraiser for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, with US media reporting that there was a private candlelight dinner for backers who pledged at least $100,000.

At one point the crowd chanted: “God Bless Trump.”

They cheered when Trump, flanked by four US flags, declared he would win re-election next year “and totally obliterate the deep state.”

They also booed references to President Joe Biden and clapped when Trump called the federal prosecutor who brought the charges, Jack Smith, “deranged” and “a thug.”

“He’s a raging, uncontrolled Trump hater,” said the ex-president, to cheers.

Everyone seemed to agree that the accusations were political, designed to derail Trump’s bid to regain office.

“It’s a travesty,” 30-year-old Antonio Rufa said of the indictment, adding that the prosecutors in this case and a separate case in Manhattan over payments to a porn star were making Trump “a martyr.”

“I think that it’s a cover-up of the crimes of the Democrats. And it’s tearing America apart,” he told AFP.

Vincent Larusso, 57, said he thought the Justice Department was “trying to prevent him from running,” but that Trump’s legal challenges will help his re-election chances.

“I think it may put off some people, but it will really energize others because we’re Americans. And American is democracy.

“This is not democracy,” he said of the investigation. “It is election interference.”

Twenty-year-old student Dominick Lombardi, wearing a red Make America Great Again cap, described Tuesday as “a very solemn day for our country.”

But he added that it would only fire up more Republicans to vote for Trump next year.

“When you look at his poll numbers you are witnessing the greatest political comeback of all time in my opinion,” Lombardi told AFP.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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