You used to be able to count on former President Donald Trump’s speeches being at least entertaining. But hours after his historic indictment in New York on charges related to hush money payments he allegedly made to an adult film star, Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago to offer a rambling, lie-filled monologue that left the Mother Jones news desk wondering, “Were Trump’s speeches always this bad?”
Speaking from a lectern emblazoned with his campaign’s fundraising text line and “Make America Great Again!” Trump went through his familiar Big-Lie litany that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, while denying any wrongdoing in the various ongoing lawsuits against him. He referred to the conversation in which he had asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for him to win the state as an “absolutely perfect phone call, even more perfect than the one I made with the president of Ukraine.” He called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “George Soros-backed prosecutor” and New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan an “anti-Trump Judge.” He insisted that Bragg was, in fact, the criminal. He did, however, throw in one indisputable fact when he was praising his family and shouted out his son, Barron, saying, “He’s tall!”
The overall tone was as bleak as his inaugural American carnage speech. “Our country is going to hell,” Trump said, before launching into a diatribe about crime, inflation, and the threat of a “nuclear World War III.” But Trump’s confidence remains intact. “With all of this being said, and with a very dark cloud over our beloved country,” he reassured his crowd of supporters, “I have no doubt, nevertheless, we will make America great again.”
Even though the audience at Mar-a-Lago was ostensibly full of diehard fans, Trump’s incoherent ramblings this evening did not seem to generate the kind of audience fervor that occurs during your typical Trump rally. Trump was introduced as “the next president of the United States,” but somehow I didn’t hear any “four-more-years” chants. It remains to be seen whether MAGA wants to watch a septuagenarian wallow in self-pity for four more years, but maybe it’s possible some will turn their back on Trump at his lowest—and most lugubrious—point.