Former US President, Donald Trump has arrived in Miami, Florida, to face federal criminal charges even as a new Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates that a vast majority of his fellow Republicans believe the case to be politically motivated.
Mr Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, is scheduled to be in a Miami federal courthouse on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT for an initial appearance in the case.
Accused of unlawfully keeping US national-security documents and lying to officials who tried to recover them, Mr Trump, who turns 77 on Wednesday, has proclaimed his innocence and vowed to continue his campaign to regain the presidency in a November 2024 election.
The former Republican President touched down in Miami at 18:54 GMT on Monday in a private jet with his name emblazoned on the side.
Supporters gathered outside a nearby golf club he owns, where he was due to stay the night.
“I HOPE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS WATCHING WHAT THE RADICAL LEFT ARE DOING TO AMERICA,” he wrote on his Truth Social social-media platform before departing from New Jersey.
A recent Reuters report says Mr Trump’s legal woes have not affected his popularity among Republican voters.
According to a poll conducted by the news agency in conjunction with Ipsos, which was released on Monday, some 81% of Republicans see the charges against their leader as politically motivated. The poll also found Mr Trump continues to lead his rivals for the party’s presidential nomination by a wide margin.
Some 43% of self-professed Republicans said the former President was their preferred candidate, compared to 22% who picked Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, Mr Trump’s closest rival. In early May, Mr Trump led Mr DeSantis 49% to 19%, but that was before the Florida Governor formally entered the race.
Mr Trump and many co-Republicans say President Joe Biden, a Democrat who has also announced his intention to run in 2024, has orchestrated the federal case to undermine the campaign of his number-one rival. Mr Biden has kept his distance from the case and declines to comment on it.
Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, a former governor of New Jersey and an adviser to Mr Trump’s 2016 election campaign, was asked during a CNN townhall on Monday night if he thought the Biden Administration was weaponizing the Department of Justice against the former President.
“I don’t think so,” Mr Christie said. “This evidence looks pretty damning.”
Analysts say the current state of affairs may be worrying for President Biden and the Democrats, given recent polls that suggest that around 70% of Americans feel Mr Trump’s trial is politically motivated, in addition to some 76% of Republicans who insist that, whether or not the former President is found guilty of the charges against him, he should still run for office in 2024.
Writing by Tony Okerafor