Indictment would help Trump’s 2024 candidacy, say MAGA voters
An impeachment could boost former President Donald Trump’s chances of winning the GOP nomination in 2024.
At least that’s the view of Trump supporters who spoke to NBC News at a Monday rally in Davenport, Iowa – which is holding the calendar’s first nominating contest.
“I think that helps him,” Allen Hockemeyer, a 78-year-old farmer from Waterloo, Iowa, said of the criminal investigations of Trump in Manhattan, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. “They’re all a fraud.”
In a post on his Truth social media platform on Saturday, Trump predicted he would be indicted on Tuesday in a New York case involving alleged hidden money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. A spokesperson for Trump told NBC News that the former president was not made aware of a possible pending indictment but based his remarks on “unlawful leaks” from prosecutors.
Whatever effect an indictment or conviction would have on Trump’s hopes of winning a general election in 2024, his first priority is rallying Republicans to win the nomination. He holds a lead in most national polls, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – who has not announced a bid – standing out as the strongest challenger early in the race.
“It energizes the base even more. It absolutely helps President Trump get into a primary,” a Washington-based Republican operative said in a phone call Saturday afternoon. “I’m not sure what that does in a general.”
The agent noted that there is a faction of the GOP that thinks Trump would already have a hard time beating a Democrat and is looking for an alternative.
“That’s what the party is struggling with right now,” he said.
Some prominent Republicans were quick to come to Trump’s defense on Saturday, indicating they are not afraid of political backlash to stand by his side.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the potential indictment an “outrageous abuse of power” by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and pledged to use commissions from the Congress to investigate whether “federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections.” with politically motivated prosecutions.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, R-Ga., a close Trump ally, wrote on Twitter that Democrats are “idiotswho “seal their own fate” with the “political weaponization” of the justice system against Trump.
The lead prosecutors in Manhattan and Fulton County, Georgia, are Democrats. At the federal level, Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, who is investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump’s handling of classified documents, was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, who works in a Democratic administration.
An indication that Trump sees a political windfall in the run-up to an indictment: He sent appeals for funds on Saturday, via text and email, following his posts on Truth Social.
Traci Walters, a 52-year-old accountant from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, suggested Monday that Trump is uniquely positioned to thrive politically in the face of legal challenges.
“FAKE!” she blurted out before a question about the investigations could be completed, adding that she was “not at all” worried he could be hurt by court cases.
“He’s been under the microscope for how long – what, 6, 7, 8 years now – they can’t find anything,” Walters said, describing himself as “100%” for Trump in the GOP primary. “I mean, come on, who could survive that, right?”
Ernie Morgan, 52, of Muscatine, Iowa, expressed a similar sentiment about the specter of accusations against Trump.
“I don’t believe in it much because it’s not proven, it’s not substantiated at this point,” he said, seated with his wife and two children in the back of the Adler Theater. in Davenport ahead of Trump’s speech on Monday.
“There have been so many instances in the past where indictments have been tried to drop, and they never seem to materialize,” Morgan said. “So I think with his proven track record he would be my guy in 24.”