Pickens, SC — Former President Donald Trump kicked off the Fourth of July weekend by unleashing a torrent of criticism at President Joe Biden in South Carolina, deriding “crooked Joe” as “grossly incompetent,” “cognitively impaired,” and “the most corrupt president in American history by far.”
Mr. Trump said the “corrupt Biden regime” has put him in a legal bind because it wants to kneecap his presidential bid.
“Joe Biden is corrupt and Joe Biden is a very compromised president,” Mr. Trump said. “He is being paid off just like a common criminal gets paid off, just in a more sophisticated manner and much larger numbers.”
House investigators are seeking Treasury documents related to the Ukrainian-based energy firm Burisma to determine if company executives bribed Mr. Biden with a $5 million payment.
Mr. Biden has denied any wrongdoing, Mr. Trump said the fact he faces legal peril, and Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter, are not for what he sees as their transgressions show “degenerates” are running the country and weaponizing the FBI and DOJ.
“The only one they go after is Trump,” he said.
Mr. Trump has expanded his lead in the polls in the face of increased criticism from his rivals and legal challenges that could land him behind bars for the rest of his life.
Roughly seven months out from the Iowa caucuses, the first stop on the nomination calendar, Mr. Trump holds a 30-point lead in national polls over his closest rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, and over 20-point leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, host of the first-in-the-nation primary.
That helps explain why Mr. Trump has kept up a less frenetic pace this go-round in the GOP nomination race, setting aside the always-on-the-go approach he took in 2016 with a more nuanced schedule.
The Independence Day event Saturday in South Carolina marked the second time he has held one of his signature rallies since entering the race in November.
Mr. Trump touted the tax cuts passed on his watch. He said he bolstered security at the US-Mexico border, kept foreign countries in check, and made the country energy independent.
Mr. Trump also took credit for installing three conservatives on the Supreme Court that paved the way for rulings overturning Roe V Wade, rejecting affirmative action at colleges and universities around the nation, and blocking Mr. Biden’s unilateral attempt to do away with hundreds of billions in student debt.
Mr. Trump is slated to be in Iowa next week.
The intensity of support for Mr. Trump – and the challenges it creates for his rivals – was on display as a sea of people descended on the small South Carolina town.
Lines started to form before sunrise near the town square.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, warmed up the crowd by saying, “America is in a crisis” and said the “ruling political class” in Washington is targeting their political rivals and turning a blind eye to the wrongs of their political allies.
“The only thing the Biden family ever sold is Joe Biden’s political influence and selling out the American people have made them rich beyond their wildest dreams,” she said. “We must impeach Joe Biden.”
Rep. Russell Fry of South Carolina said the American dream is slipping away from working-class Americans on Biden’s watch.
“When you compare President Trump to President Biden, this is what happens when you trade a General Patton for a Gomer Pyle,” Mr. Fry said. “So it is time, it is time to kick Joe Biden, the mumbling bumbling occupant of the White House out and elect Donald Trump as president.”
“He fixed [the country] before and he will fix it again,” Mr. Fry said.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said the nation prospered under Mr. Trump despite the political left attempts to undermine him at every turn.
“Well, I got some news, we are coming back,” Mr. McMasters said.
He called the charges leveled against Mr. Trump in New York over trying to cover up hush money payments to a porn star as a “malicious prosecution.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke over relentless boos, praising Mr. Trump as the “most pro-life president in my lifetime,” and crediting him with installing conservative justices on the Supreme Court and securing the southern border.
“I can promise you this when it comes to Donald Trump, the best is yet to come,” he said.
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