Vows to deport 'jihadist' college protesters

Trump: Biden ‘surrounded by fascists,’ weapons delay to Israel ‘shocking’

At New Jersey rally, presidential candidate calls fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter ‘wonderful man,’ compares himself to Al Capone, recites entirety of Oscar Brown’s ‘The Snake’

Former US president and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, on May 11, 2024. (Jim WATSON / AFP)
Former US president and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, on May 11, 2024. (Jim WATSON / AFP)

Former US president Donald Trump raised eyebrows among his no-nonsense New Jersey crowd at a rally Saturday, saying his incumbent competitor Joe Biden was “surrounded by fascists,” reciting a 1963 soul song in its entirety, and referencing a fictional cannibal as “great.”

In a more than 90-minute speech to a sizable rally in New Jersey, Trump repeatedly blamed US President Biden for the criminal charges Trump’s facing as the presumptive nominees prepare to face off in the November election, and called his New York hush money case “a Biden show trial.”

“He’s a fool. He’s not a smart man,” Trump said of Biden.

“I talk about him differently now because now the gloves are off,” he continued, and charged the president was “surrounded by fascists around the Oval Office.”

“All of this persecution is only happening because I’m running for president. If I wasn’t leading in the polls by a lot and running for president, they wouldn’t be after me. I’d have a nice place. I’d be down in Palm Beach. I’d be traveling the world,” he said

Lisa Fagan, spokesperson for the city of Wildwood, told The Associated Press that she estimated a crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 attendees.

During the speech, the former US president disparaged District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting the case against him in New York.

Supporters cheer as former US president and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, on May 11, 2024. (Jim WATSON / AFP)

“Fat Alvin, corrupt guy,” said Trump, who is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to a porn star before the 2016 presidential election, which he won.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying internal Trump Organization business records. The charges stem from paperwork such as invoices and checks that were deemed legal expenses in company records. Prosecutors say those payments largely were reimbursements to Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer-turned-foe, who paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet.

Trump also took aim at the trial judge, Justice Juan Merchan, accusing both men of working at the behest of Biden — an allegation for which there is no evidence.

“They’re doing the bidding for crooked Joe Biden. This is all being done by crooked Joe Biden.”

The New York case is one of four state and federal criminal trials Trump faces and may be the only one to be held before the November 5 election. He has pleaded not guilty in all of them, portraying them as politically motivated.

Trump laid into Biden for delaying the transfer of 2,000- and 500-pound bombs to Israel over concerns that the Israel Defense Forces could use them in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where the White House has warned Israel not to conduct a widescale military offensive.

“This week, he announced that he will withhold shipping weapons to Israel as they fight to eradicate Hamas terrorists in Gaza. That was shocking to hear it, even as there are still American hostages being held by Hamas,” he said.

Warning the US’s most dangerous enemies are “from within,” Trump vowed to deport foreign students who spread “jihadism or antisemitism,” appearing to refer to anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters on college campuses.

“They’re not on the right, they’re on the left,” he added.

In a meandering recitation of “The Snake,” Trump used the Oscar Brown song to draw a parallel with “illegal immigration and how stupid it is what we’re doing right now.”

“We’re letting people come into our country that we will only be trouble,” said the Republican contender.

Trump has drawn on the song several times to highlight his anti-migrant stance, reportedly drawing objections from Brown’s family.

“A tenderhearted woman saw a poor, half-frozen snake,” Trump said, reciting the words of the song to the crowd. “But instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite.”

Trump, who will face Biden in November’s polls, is using increasingly violent rhetoric around the country’s migrant crisis.

At the same time, the lengthy recitation of “The Snake” drew a subdued reaction from the crowd of thousands gathered on a beach in Wildwood on the New Jersey shore.

“Did everybody enjoy it? Don’t enjoy, you should be — you should be scared!” he said.

Just months ago, the Republican claimed that migrants were “poisoning the blood” of the United States, sparking a fierce backlash.

Biden’s campaign accused him of imitating the language of Adolf Hitler.

During his first presidential campaign in the lead-up to the 2016 vote, Trump shocked observers with his language about “rapist” illegal migrants.

A peculiar bit on cannibalism from the New Jersey rally also drew attention on social media.

“The late, great Hannibal Lecter is a wonderful man,” Trump said, referencing the 1991 film “Silence of the Lambs,” while claiming mental patients were flooding across the US border.

“He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner,” he said grinning, rehashing a well-worn joke about the infamous cannibal character, before diving back into migration.

“But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations, the late, great Hannibal Lecter. We have people that are being released into our country that we don’t want in our country.”

At another point in the address, Trump grabbed the attention of his crowd by rehashing his comparison of himself to notorious gangster Al Capone.

“Al Capone was so mean that if you went to dinner with him and he didn’t like you, you’d be dead the next morning. And I got indicted more than him. On bullshit, too. Just bullshit,” he said, with the crowd replying with cries of “bullshit.”

Trump is set to return to the courtroom next week when key prosecution witness Cohen is expected to take the witness stand. Last week, Trump was visibly angry at times as he was forced to sit through testimony from former porn actor Stormy Daniels, who described a sexual encounter with the former president in shocking detail.

The prosecution could rest its case by the end of the week. It’s unclear if Trump himself will take the stand when the defense presents its case.

Back on the Jersey Shore, 65-year-old Pat Day said she felt some urgency to see Trump in person on Saturday.

“We want to see Trump before they take him out,” said Day, who was visiting from the Florida Keys. “I’m worried. They’re going to do everything they can so he doesn’t get elected again.”

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