After conviction, Trump says appeal is ahead

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- One day after being found guilty on all 34 counts in his hush-money trial, Donald Trump remained brash as he addressed reporters at Trump Tower -- where he repeated many of his grievances with the case and vowed to appeal.

Trump spoke on Friday morning from the atrium of the New York skyscraper, steps away from the golden escalator he famously rode down in 2015 when he kicked off his first bid for president.

Nearly nine years later, and after becoming the first U.S. president to ever be convicted of crimes, Trump said in a rambling speech that he will continue to fight against the legal battles that have consumed much of his third White House bid.

"If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone," Trump said as he kicked off his remarks, which were filled with falsehoods about the case. "These are bad people. These are, in many cases, I believe, sick people."

Trump then dove into some of his signature campaign rhetoric, going after migrants coming to the United States and economic competition with China. But his attention quickly returned to the New York criminal trial, and remained there for much of his 35-minute remarks. He did not take any questions from the press.

Trump continued to falsely claim the trial was "rigged" with a biased judge and prosecutors.

While Trump avoided directly naming Judge Juan Merchan and his former attorney Michael Cohen, citing the gag order against him, he made references to both. He alluded to Cohen as a "sleazebag" and the judge a "tyrant."

He also sought to portray himself as a political martyr -- a theme that has been central to his 2024 campaign.

"In a way, I'm honored," he said. "It's not that it's pleasant. It's very bad for family, it's very bad for friends and businesses, but I'm honored to be involved in it because somebody has to do it, and I might as well keep going and be the one."

"So we're going to show them that we're going to fight … It's something where I'm wired in such a way that a lot of people would have gone away a long time ago," he later added.

Trump signified that they plan to appeal the decision and reiterated many reasons why he and his team believe they should, again criticizing the venue of the trial and timing of the case.

"The people of our country know it's a hoax, they know it's a hoax, they get it," Trump said. "You know, they're really smart. And it's really something, so we're going to be appealing this scam."

Trump continued to try to downplay the counts he was found guilty of, still claiming his non-disclosure agreement was "totally legal" and not a hush-money payment.

Despite being a convicted felon, Trump said he still believes this will only propel him to win in November, as he continued to falsely accuse the Biden administration of creating political persecution despite the case being handled solely by New York prosecutors.

"I don't know if Biden knows too much about it, because I don't know if he knows about anything, but he's nevertheless the president, so we have to use his name. And this is done by Washington," Trump said.

The Biden-Harris campaign quickly responded to the speech, criticizing Trump for "attacking the rule of law" and "sowing chaos."

“America just witnessed a confused, desperate, and defeated Donald Trump ramble about his own personal grievances and lie about the American justice system, leaving anyone watching with one obvious conclusion: This man cannot be president of the United States. Unhinged by his 2020 election loss and spiraling from his criminal convictions, Trump is consumed by his own thirst for revenge and retribution," Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler said in a statement. "He thinks this election is about him. But it’s not. It’s about the American people: lowering their costs, protecting their freedoms, defending their democracy."

Trump also touted his fundraising haul since the verdict, arguing his record haul shows the support he has behind him while also getting angry as he said he wished this didn't happen. The campaign claimed earlier Friday they raised $34.8 million, though Trump placed the number higher at $39 million in his speech.

The former president and presumptive Republican nominee was joined by a couple dozen supporters, his legal and campaign team, and his son Eric Trump and his wife Lara who cheered and clapped as he entered the Trump Tower atrium.

ABC News' Gabrielle Abdul-Hakim, Fritz Farrow and Will McDuffie contributed to this report.

Friday, May 31, 2024 at 1:38PM by Lalee Ibssa , Soo Rin Kim, and Kelsey Walsh, ABC News Permalink