MIAMI – Former President Donald Trump delivered his first post-indictment public remarks on Saturday at the state G.O.P. convention in Georgia, as his federal indictment continues to dominate the political landscape.
Trump continued to downplay the accusations against him, saying he never smuggled out boxes of classified documents.
“When I left office and was moving to Florida, boxes were openly sitting on the White House sidewalk, people were taking pictures of him. This wasn’t somebody smuggling boxes out,” Trump said.
Trump also lashed out at the United States Department of Justice after Special Counsel Jack Smith unsealed the 49-page indictment that detailed 37 counts against the former president.
The indictment centers on hundreds of classified documents that Trump took with him from the White House to Mar-a-Lago upon leaving office in January 2021. Even as “tens of thousands of members and guests” visited Mar-a-Lago between the end of Trump’s presidency and August 2022,
According to the documents, Trump orchestrated a scheme to hide the papers and is also accused of lying to authorities who sought them.
Smith included photos in the indictment, showing boxes being stored in a ballroom, storage room and even next to a toilet inside his Mar-a-Lago home.
“Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States and they must be enforced,” Smith said during a press conference on Friday.
Trump’s opponents in the 2024 presidential race have decided to respond to the historic indictment in different ways.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis mostly avoided the subject while speaking in North Carolina.
“If we’re united, 2024 will be the year that America fights back, and fight back we will,” he said.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke more bluntly this week about Trump on national television.
“The bigger issue for our country is, is this the type of conduct that we want for someone who wants to be the president of the United States? Christie asked.
Trump posted to one of his social media accounts overnight promoting a rally for supporters to come to the federal courthouse in Miami saying, “See you in Miami on Tuesday.”
Miami police have promised they will be working with state and federal authorities to both protect freedom of speech and maintain order.
Read their statement below.