Former President Donald Trump’s indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is set to increase his chances of winning South Carolina’s presidential primary next year, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.
Speaking at a state Republican Party headquarters, Graham slammed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s decision to prosecute Trump as “legally unsound” and “politically motivated,” claiming that it will “create a backlash in South Carolina.” Graham’s comments come a day after Trump pleaded not guilty in a New York City court after being charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.
The charges are related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign. Bragg alleges that Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”
Trump surrendered to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and was arraigned in court on April 5 after being indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last week. Under New York state law, the charge of falsifying business records in the first degree alleges that the defendant committed the crime with the intent to defraud, which would be an intent to commit another crime. However, Bragg’s office has not revealed the underlying crime Trump is accused of attempting to conceal.
Despite the charges, Trump’s support base seems to have strengthened, with Graham stating that people in South Carolina who do not like President Trump view this as a politically-motivated prosecution. Graham, who is leading Trump’s 2024 White House campaign in South Carolina, said the charges have led to an increase in support for the former president in the state.
Trump has already raised over $12 million since last Thursday when he became the first current or former US president to face criminal charges. The former president’s 2024 candidacy has been widely speculated since he left office earlier this year, and this development in New York may further fuel the prospect of Trump running for president again.
The South Carolina primary, scheduled for February 2024, is one of the earliest contests in the presidential nomination process, and it is seen as a crucial win for any Republican candidate seeking the nomination. Senator Graham remarked that the actions of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have widened the road to the White House for President Trump.
The former president’s campaign will undoubtedly focus on the accusations of politically-motivated prosecution in the run-up to the primary, which could galvanize Trump’s support base and potentially make him a serious contender for the Republican nomination.