Trump Team Uses NY Arraignment Footage in New Campaign Ad

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
April 7, 2023Donald Trumpshare
Trump Team Uses NY Arraignment Footage in New Campaign Ad
Former President Donald Trump arrives for an arraignment hearing at NYS Supreme Court in New York on April 4, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s 2024 election campaign team has repurposed footage of his arrival at a Manhattan criminal court this week for a new campaign commercial.

Last week, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office announced Trump would be indicted, and the former president appeared before a New York court on Tuesday to be arraigned. Trump now faces 34 felony-level charges of falsified business records over how he allegedly made payments to buy the silence of people planning to come forward with negative allegations about him during the 2016 presidential election. Trump pled “not guilty” during the arraignment hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The one-minute campaign ad includes clips of Trump and his secret service detail traveling in New York City and his walk into the courthouse, along with voice-overs of political pundits criticizing Bragg’s case.

“Bragg’s idiotic, small-minded prosecution—this will likely all backfire, in fact it already is backfiring,” Fox News host Sean Hannity can be heard saying in the audio clips.

“Americans are very smart people and they see what’s going on,” another commentator says in a voiceover clip, while a third clip states that “This is a persecution disguised as a prosecution.”

As the ad gets to the video clip of Trump’s walk into the courthouse, the former president’s own voice-over can be heard, saying, “The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it. And now, these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.”

As Trump’s voice-over continues, the footage switches away from the New York courthouse to crowds of Trump supporters who gathered in Florida as the former president gave a speech at his Mar-a-Lago home and resort on Tuesday evening after his arraignment.

Trump referred to the case against him as “a very dark cloud over our beloved country” during his voice-over, adding “I have no doubt, nevertheless, that we will make America great again.”

Bragg’s office has pushed back on criticism of the case against Trump. In a March 31 letter (pdf), Leslie Dubeck—an attorney representing Bragg’s office—said “the charges filed yesterday were brought by citizens of New York, doing their civic duty as members of a grand jury, who found probable cause to accuse Mr. Trump of having committed crimes in New York.

“Like any other defendant, Mr. Trump is entitled to challenge these charges in court and avail himself of all processes and protections that New York State’s robust criminal procedure affords,” Dubeck added.

Trump Uses Indictment to Raise Funds

Trump and his supporters have repeatedly accused Bragg of acting out of political animus in his decision to charge the former president. Bragg’s prosecution comes as Trump is actively campaigning to return to the White House in 2024 and has been leading in several recent 2024 Republican Primary polls.

The prosecution has already become something of a rallying cry for the Trump team. Numerous Republican politicians, including several known and potential 2024 presidential primary opponents, have criticized Bragg’s efforts to prosecute Trump.

Polling data has indicated a surge in support for Trump among Republican primary voters since the indictment announcement.

The Trump campaign also reportedly raised $7 million in the first three days after Bragg’s office announced an indictment against the former president on March 30. The campaign reportedly received $4 million in the first 24 hours alone.

One website for Trump 2024 campaign merchandise now includes shirts, mugs, and a poster showing a simulated black and white mugshot of Trump’s arrest with the caption “NOT GUILTY.”

While the Manhattan case may solidify support for Trump among the Republican base, it remains to be seen how the charges will sway other voters.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll of Americans found 62 percent of respondents thought Bragg’s case against Trump is primarily motivated by politics, including 70 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats. Although the Quinnipiac poll found that most Americans view Bragg’s case as political, 57 percent of respondents in that same poll said criminal charges should disqualify Trump from running for office again, compared to 38 percent who said the charges should not disqualify the former president.

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