Donald Trump gave a defiant speech at Mar-A-Lago on Tuesday evening following his unprecedented arraignment in New York.
In short, pithy remarks, Trump lamented that America is "going to hell" and now resembles the former Soviet Union, with those opposed to the government facing political persecution.
The former president and current White House candidate decried his felony case as "massive election interference at a scale never seen before" and an escalation in a years-long effort to destroy him.
"The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it," he said.
Earlier in the day, Trump pled not guilty to 34 felony charges for allegedly concealing hush money payments prior to the 2016 election.
Despite the wild anticipation of the press, the indictment landed with something of a thud. Even Trump detractors were left doubting the strength of the case, which federal authorities previously declined to pursue.
Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg said he upgraded what would normally be misdemeanors to felonies because Trump was hiding other crimes, although Bragg did not specify what those crimes were, saying the law doesn't require it.
Trump condemned Bragg as a "criminal" for leaking grand jury testimony to the press and called on him to resign. Characterizing the justice system as utterly "lawless," Trump noted that one of Bragg's former prosecutors wrote a book about the case against Trump.
"I never thought anything like this could happen in America," Trump said.
Trump spoke for less than thirty minutes, less time than usual for the former president -- understandable, given the doubtless stressful events of the day.
He recapped the "onslaught of investigations" he has faced since his shocking election victory in 2016, including a Special Counsel probe of illusory Russian collusion, two partisan impeachments, and a number of ongoing probes, including a second Special Counsel investigation into classified documents.
The controversy behind that probe led to the "illegal" FBI raid of his home last summer, Trump recalled. He alleged he is being treated differently by the justice system than Democrats like Joe Biden, who never had his home raided despite keeping classified documents there.
"They can't beat us at the ballot box, so they try and beat us through the law," Trump said.
He concluded the dour remarks with a message of hope, saying, "I have no doubt nevertheless that we will make America great again."