Trump accuses Biden of ‘running a Gestapo administration’ during private donor retreat

Former President Donald Trump railed against prosecutors and President Joe Biden on Saturday night, telling donors at a private event in Florida that the president is “running a Gestapo administration.”

Throughout a sprawling, nearly 90-minute speech, Trump criticized the criminal indictments he’s facing and the ongoing hush-money trial in New York, which is going into its third week, according to a recording of the former president’s comments. Overall, Trump is facing dozens of criminal charges in four separate cases.

“These people are running a Gestapo administration, and it’s the only thing they have, and it’s the only way they’re going to win,” Trump said, referring to the secret police during Nazi Germany. “But it doesn’t bother me.”

“If you care too much, you tend to choke,” he said.

Trump during his speech in Palm Beach hammered Democrats broadly, discussed his golf game and asserted that he’s doing well in the polls.

But he came back to the criminal indictments often and, without providing evidence, accused the White House of orchestrating the cases against him.

“Until I got indicted, I was respectful of the office of the president,” said Trump, who tried unsuccessfully to overturn the results of the 2020 election. “Once I got indicted, I said, ‘well now the gloves have to come off.’”

His comments drew loud applause from the audience. At one point, one attendee said, “Donald J. Trump is the person God has chosen.”

The former president also brought up the federal case against Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who the Justice Department indicted on Friday for allegedly accepting $600,000 in bribes from two foreign entities. Cuellar, a moderate Democrat whose district is on the border with Mexico, has said he’s innocent of the charges.

“He got indicted for political reasons because of stuff at the border,” Trump said of Cuellar. “What they’ve done is weaponize the government to go after political opponents.”

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The donor retreat was hosted by the former president’s campaign and was expected to be attended by at least 400 people. Among the special guests listed were a handful of potential vice presidential contenders, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina and J.D. Vance of Ohio. Also listed were Govs. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, among others.

At one point near the end of the night, Trump called out some of his potential running mates as well as various senators like Mike Lee of Utah, telling the crowd: “We got Marco, we got Tim, we got [Sen. Marsha] Blackburn we got Vance.”

Trump also brought on stage Rod Blagojevich, the controversial former Democratic Illinois governor whose prison sentence for corruption was commuted by Trump.

Blagojevich, who describes himself as a “Trump-ocrat,” was invited by the campaign to attend the event and was surprised to be called on stage, according to a spokesperson for the former governor. He has not spoken to Trump about any vice presidential consideration.

Campaign officials on Saturday also told donors that Trump’s political operation raised more than $76 million in April. The figures were announced to donors by campaign officials Susie Wiles, Chris LaCivita and Tony Fabrizio.

Trump’s campaign is struggling to catch up to Biden in fundraising. At the end of April, Biden had more than twice the amount of money as the former president.

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