Donald Trump and his aides are eager to have a show of support and force for his first court appearance in Miami on Tuesday on charges related to the retention of classified documents and efforts to obstruct justice.
But they’re stressing that they don’t want it to get out of hand.
Before departing for Florida, the former president spent Monday morning at his clubhouse in New Jersey where he spoke with aides and met with a congressional ally. Trump and his team of advisers and attorneys plan to spend Monday night at his golf resort in Miami preparing for his court appearance and trying to bolster his legal team. They were aware of pro-Trump rallies planned around his courthouse appearance and amplified calls for supporters to “protest peacefully.”
“We need strength at this point. Everyone is afraid to do anything. They’re afraid to talk. They have to go out and protest peacefully,” Trump told ally and conservative provocateur Roger Stone on his radio show on Sunday. Stone called on Trump’s supporters planning protests to “keep it peaceful, civil and legal.”
A host of Trump allies are set to descend on the city in anticipation of the arraignment. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), announced he would be holding a press conference on Monday in Miami to deliver remarks “on the indictment of former President Donald J. Trump and President Joe Biden’s abandonment of equal justice under the law.” And Kari Lake, the former gubernatorial candidate from Arizona, announced her plans to be “in Miami tomorrow to peacefully and patriotically protest in support of” Trump.
But Lake on Monday also issued a warning to anyone who might try to hurt Trump. “They’re gonna have to come through me and…300 million others,” she said. “Most of us are NRA members. That is not a threat; that is a public service announcement.” Other members of Congress have used similarly foreboding rhetoric including Reps. Clay Higgins and Andy Biggs, who declared: “We have now reached a war phase.”
Laura Loomer, the former congressional candidate and far-right ally of Trump, called on supporters to rally near the Miami courthouse on Tuesday and invited Trump backers to wear “Trump hats,” and wave “flags and signs” at the entrance of Trump National Doral to show support. And even 2024 GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy planned to capitalize on the media attention in Miami and hold his own rally to discuss a FOIA his team filed, “to uncover communications between the White House, Merrick Garland and Jack Smith relating to the indictment of the 45th President of the United States.”
Fear of angry mobs rallying around Trump are nothing new. They were there after Trump’s New York arraignment, for separate charges in a case brought by New York D.A. Alvin Bragg over alleged hush money payments to a pornographic actress.
The resulting gathering in that case was not much more than throngs of media, a smattering of attention-seeking demonstrators, and tourists who gawked at Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.). But Miami officials are, nevertheless, taking precautions.
In a press conference on Monday, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, said the city was prepared “to make sure that everyone has a right to peacefully express themselves and exercise their constitutional rights and obviously do it in a peaceful manner.”
“In our city, we obviously believe in the Constitution, we believe that people should have the right to express themselves, but we also believe in law and order. And we know that — and we hope that tomorrow will be peaceful. We encourage people to be peaceful in demonstrating how they feel, and we’re going to have the adequate forces necessary to ensure that,” Suarez said.
Miami-Dade County — the location of Trump’s Doral golf course — is home to fervent Trump supporters and has a sizable number of Republican voters. Hillary Clinton crushed Trump in 2016 in the county, but President Joe Biden won it by a much smaller margin four years later. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won the county outright last November with 55 percent of the vote.
Trump flew down to Miami on Monday morning from Bedminster N.J. and plans to stay at his Trump Doral resort just outside of the city.
While his exact legal representation is still being decided, Todd Blanche, a new attorney on Trump’s legal team, and Boris Epshteyn, who has acted as a legal adviser and appeared at the courthouse in New York with Trump, traveled down to Miami with him. Walt Nauta, Trump’s personal aide who was indicted for his involvement in the classified documents case, also flew down with the ex-president. Trump’s campaign team, including top advisers Susie Wiles, Chris LaCivita, Dan Scavino, Jason Miller, and Steven Cheung, are also expected to join Trump in Miami.
After Trump’s hearing at the courthouse, Trump and his team will fly back to New Jersey where he will be making remarks to the media at 8:15pm from a stage in front of his Bedminster clubhouse. Waiting inside the club will be dozens of top donors and bundlers, responsible for raising thousands of dollars, who had RSVP’d weeks ago for Trump’s first major fundraiser.
According to an invitation, the fundraiser includes a “candlelight dinner,” “photo opportunity” and “VIP reception” with elected officials and special guests. But with both the House and Senate in session, it was unclear which allies from Capitol Hill would be able to join. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) who is usually seen at Mar-a-Lago events with Trump, planned to stay in Washington for votes, according to his spokesperson.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, (R-Ala.), was expected head to Bedminster on Tuesday night, but told POLITICO he would make a game time decision.
“I don’t know yet. I was going to but then with all this going down to Miami, there ain’t no telling what’s going to happen,” Tuberville said.
On Monday afternoon the Trump campaign sent emails to political allies reading, “you are cordially invited for the president’s remarks at Bedminster,” according to an individual invited to the event.
Over the weekend, Trump continued to get a boost from some of his allies like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) who appeared on television to defend the ex-president. And on Monday morning, Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) met with Trump at his Bedminster office.
“I just spent an hour with President Trump. He is as strong, sharp, and resilient as ever. The establishment does not want this man to be president again, which is exactly why we must fight to ensure that he gets FOUR MORE YEARS!” Collins wrote on Twitter.
Gary Fineout and Burgess Everett to this report.
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