Trump says Democrats are ‘running a Gestapo administration’ at annual Republican National Committee retreat

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump intensified his attacks on Democrats this Saturday at a private lunch at his Mar-a-Lago club, during which he referred to Democrats as “running a Gestapo administration,” equating President Joe Biden’s administration. Biden with Nazi Germany, according to three aides.

The comments were part of a broader tirade, during which the former president accused the Biden administration of being behind the four criminal charges he faces.

The fundraiser served as the main attraction during the RNC’s annual retreat in Palm Beach. Hundreds of people attended the event and several attendees donated $40,000 or more, sources familiar with the fundraiser told CNN.

Trump cursed repeatedly throughout his speech, attendees said, even as he criticized special counsel Jack Smith and other prosecutors who have brought criminal charges against him.

The comments were part of a roughly 90-minute speech in which he touted his recent fundraising numbers and lavished praise on his vice presidential contenders, saying many people were “begging” to be his running mate, two of the men said. assistants.

Trump took the stage this Saturday to record a January 6 anthem featuring several people convicted for their role in the 2021 Capitol attack, a song his campaign frequently performs at his campaign rallies.

At one point during the event, Trump’s daughter-in-law and co-chair of the Republican National Committee, Lara Trump, presented the former president with a Billboard Music Award for the song, titled “Justice for All,” which topped Billboard’s digital sales last year. .

At another point, Trump called those gathered at his resort and offered them the chance to speak at the podium for $1 million, the three attendees said. Finally, two donors took the stage and one used the podium to claim that God chose Trump to lead the country, they said.

Trump also touted Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley’s efforts to prevent cheating in the upcoming election, aides told CNN. During remarks, Trump claimed that he would need an attorney general with “courage” while also mocking his former attorney general, William Barr, according to the New York Times. Barr, who has been a fierce critic of Trump since he left his administration, recently endorsed the former president.

Trump also spent several minutes praising former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office in 2009 on corruption charges, aides said. Trump commuted Blagojevich’s prison sentence in 2020. Blagojevich told CNN that he considers himself a “Trumpocrat,” which he described as a Democrat who supports Trump.

Later on Saturday, Trump hosted a birthday party at Mar-a-Lago for Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, who was one of Trump’s presidential doctors while he was in office, several attendees said. The former president used the event, which also served as a fundraising opportunity, to deliver remarks about his campaign against Biden.

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