“You are not forgotten.” These words were spoken by former President Donald Trump when he visited East Palestine, Ohio. It was in that moment that New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg knew he had to act.
The former president has been a target for the top prosecutor in Manhattan for some time. In a November 2020 interview with CBS News, then-candidate Bragg said that among a “staggering” number of cases involving then-President Donald Trump, a matter involving the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen stood out.
Mr. Bragg went on to comment, “You know, we haven’t talked about Michael Cohen yet and the campaign finance part.” He was sending a clear message to voters: I’m out to get President Trump.
Why would the same district attorney who announced in 2022 that he would not prosecute a long list of crimes suddenly become obsessed with a low-level campaign finance issue? I believe Mr. Trump’s visit to East Palestine triggered the reaction.
When the former president arrived to see the small town overwhelmed by the train derailment, he brought thousands of bottles of cleaning supplies and pallets of bottled water. He met with first responders, the mayor and other local leaders. At a press conference that day, the fire department chief thanked Mr. Trump for the supplies. The former president said, “I sincerely hope that when your representatives and all of the politicians get here, including Biden, they get back from touring Ukraine, that he’s got some money left over.”
On the way out of town, Mr. Trump stopped at a McDonald’s and ordered food for the firefighters and the others waiting in line. He passed out red hats with the phrase “Make America Great Again” and the number “47” on them. Donald Trump was the 45th president, and President Biden is the 46th president. Presumably, he was sending a message that he is ready to be the 47th president of the United States.
At the time, I said to my wife, “that is the guy who got elected in 2016.” His message to everyday Americans was simple: “You are not forgotten.”
While Mr. Biden was touring Europe talking about spending billions to support the efforts in Ukraine, Mr. Trump was stepping in where the federal government failed to act. It was a clear contrast.
Several of the residents who met the former president cheered when he arrived with the cleaning supplies and bottled water. Others chanted, “USA!” and “We love you, Trump!”
After weeks of criticism, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally came to East Palestine the day after Mr. Trump. Unlike the warm welcome received by the 45th president, images of Mr. Buttigieg showed him with his arms crossed while wearing a safety vest and helmet. The former presidential candidate looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there.
The contrast could not have been starker. The Biden administration seemed not to want to be bothered by the concerns of people in places like East Palestine. They are more interested in virtue signaling on climate change and drag shows. The message sent to Middle America is simple: Your views and values have been forgotten.
When Mr. Trump told Middle America their views were not forgotten, Mr. Bragg knew he had to act.
The radical left is obsessed with Mr. Trump. He’s like an ex they say they hate but can’t stop talking about. This may be the biggest backfire in political history.
When the Biden administration weaponized federal agencies to raid the former president’s residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, his standing in the polls went up, and his fundraising efforts saw a bump. Candidates tend to compete with other candidates in the same party during primary season. Once done, support tends to consolidate around the winner once they are attacked by the opposing party. The same sort of thing happened after the Mar-a-Lago raid, and it is likely to happen again with an indictment that is viewed as politically motivated by the radical district attorney of New York City.
Having said that, it won’t be easy to defeat Mr. Biden in 2024. Voters on the left have consistently shown that they will vote for any candidate that adheres to their radical agenda — regardless of competency to hold office. For those who disagree, I remind you of Sen. John Fetterman.
Liberals will seek to tank Mr. Trump. He can consolidate support by targeting his rage for the abuses of the left while reminding voters they are not forgotten. If he does that, he just might get himself elected to another term as president of the United States.
• Scott Walker is president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.
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