Trump speaks in Columbia at SC Republican fundraising event days after arraignment
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Former President Donald Trump arrived in Columbia on Saturday evening to headline the biggest South Carolina Republican fundraising event of the year.
The Silver Elephant Gala, held at the S.C. State Fairgrounds, is an annual fundraising event for the state GOP. Event organizers said they expected between 1,300 to 1,400 people at Saturday night’s event.
South Carolina’s top Republican party donors gathered on Saturday night to listen to remarks from the South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick, Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham and Former President Trump.
Trump’s speech on Saturday, at the longest-standing Republican event in the state’s history, comes at the end of a turbulent week for the party’s front-runner for the 2024 election.
Much of his speech was a framed as a contrast between what he characterized as the success of the economy under his administration with the failures of Joe Biden’s presidency.
On Thursday, the former president pleaded not guilty to four felony charges that accused him of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election. At this time, Trump is facing 78 charges across three separate criminal cases.
The most recent charges brought forth by Special Counsel Jack Smith on Tuesday have not deterred Republican party members from showering him with support.
McMaster, who endorsed Trump in early 2016 when he was lieutenant governor, reiterated his support for the former president when asked about the indictment on Wednesday.
“I just don’t see any substance in any of them. I just don’t see it,” he said. “We will see what happens at trial. I think that the prosecutor is out of line. He’s been described as one that stretches the law, and perhaps the facts.”
Trump mentioned the most recent federal charges against him in Columbia on Saturday night, and claimed these indictments are a result of him leading President Joe Biden in the polls.
“And that’s the problem, and if I wasn’t, we wouldn’t be under investigation by deranged Jack Smith,” he said.
Trump also picked up a big endorsement Saturday morning from a top leader at the S.C. State House. Speaker of the House Rep. Murrell Smith announced he’s backing Trump in the Republican primary.
Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges.
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