Donald Trump's 2024 campaign sees political opportunities in the aftermath of his unprecedented indictment, as the embattled presidential candidate ramps up his war with the "deep state."
People close to Trump's campaign told the Daily Caller that Trump will rally the sympathy of Republican voters by emphasizing his struggle against "the system" in the coming months.
"I think this indictment changes everything…. the entire universe has changed," a Republican consultant tied to the campaign said.
Trump's defiant post-arraignment speech at Mar-A-Lago was "laying out the case that the entire system has been to get him since day one… and teeing up the message that it’s going to be about him against the system," the GOP consultant said.
The indictment has become a "litmus test" for Trump's challengers, who are now under pressure to defend him against an indictment that is widely perceived as political, a former Trump White House official noted.
The biggest casualty of Trump's indictment bump is Ron DeSantis, who initially downplayed the news as a "manufactured circus" while taking a shot over Trump's alleged dalliance with a porn star. The Florida governor (R) later said he would not cooperate with any effort to extradite Trump.
DeSantis has been "cratering" in the polls as it becomes "harder and harder to see what lane he’s running down,” the former Trump official said.
“In the example of DeSantis, you’re trying to be Trump-adjacent. So you need some distance from Trump, some contrast with Trump, while also not alienating his voters who you need to turn into your own voters," the person said.
Trump is also facing probes in Georgia and Washington, D.C. over the 2020 election and classified documents. While the Trump campaign hopes to take advantage of any future indictment news, they note that Trump is still making the most out of what is, politically, an unenviable position.
“No one welcomes B.S. indictments. No human being wants to be indicted over bogus charges. That’s a separate question from, would it help Trump politically?” the GOP consultant said.
Trump's next hearing in Manhattan is in December, right before the primaries begin, so backlash over the indictment will likely continue to shape the campaign.
While some speculate that Democrats see Trump as a general election liability, Trump told Tucker Carlson Tuesday night that he is only being prosecuted because the left sees him as a threat.
"They don't want to run against me," he said.