PALM BEACH, Fla. – Former president Donald Trump escalated his attacks on prosecutors at a private luncheon here Saturday, referring to special counsel Jack Smith with an expletive and accusing Democrats of “running a Gestapo administration,” according to audio provided by a Republican donor.

He called Smith – who is prosecuting federal cases involving Trump’s handling of classified documents and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol – a “f—ing a–hole.” He continued to mock another prosecutor, District Attorney Fani T. Willis of Georgia’s Fulton County, for her past relationship with former special prosecutor Nathan Wade, calling her “Mrs. Wade” and “a real beauty.”

Trump Capitol Riot

Special counsel Jack Smith came in for special vulgarity during former president Donald Trump’s weekend remarks. J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press, file

The former president also told the crowd at his Mar-a-Lago Club that he was surprised when he got indicted.

“Once I got indicted, I said holy s—, I just got indicted. Me, I got indicted. In fact, Lara, if she knew I got indicted, she probably wouldn’t have joined the family,” he said, referring to the wife of his son Eric. “I got indicted like Alphonse and like all these people,” a reference to the gangster Al Capone.

Trump complained about former attorney general William P. Barr for not backing him on false claims of election fraud, saying he now needs a top prosecutor with “courage” if he is elected again.

Trump – who faces 88 criminal charges in four separate state and federal cases – has made attacks on prosecutors a central part of his bid for a return to the White House and has repeatedly claimed without evidence that he is the victim of a weaponized legal system. Saturday’s remarks illustrated the central role his legal cases are playing in his bid to return to the White House for a second term, even in a private setting.


Trump was indicted last year in the four cases: New York charges of falsifying records to allegedly cover up a hush money payment to an adult-film actress during the 2016 presidential campaign; federal charges of mishandling classified documents and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them; and federal and Georgia state charges of interfering with the 2020 election results. He is currently standing trial in the hush money case.

The remarks were part of a wide-ranging talk Trump gave to donors and lawmakers at his Florida estate. About 400 people who gave at least $40,000 each attended, according to people familiar with the planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private event. He spoke for about 90 minutes, and the remarks veered widely.

He spent time musing about who would be his vice president, with a number of the potential contenders in the room. And he offered unequivocal praise for the embattled House speaker, Mike Johnson, R-La., who was in the crowd, telling him that “you’re doing a very good job.” He added that other Republicans should “leave him alone,” even as one of Trump’s allies, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is preparing a seemingly doomed effort to oust Johnson from his job next week.

The event, according to the audio and attendees, was quintessential Trump. At one point, as if he were at an auction, he told the crowd: “Anyone who makes a $1 million donation right now to the Republican Party … I will let you come up and speak.” Two donors then came to the stage, and one told the crowd: “Donald J. Trump is the person that God has chosen.”

At another point, he complained about having to take so many pictures with donors and told people in the crowd that if they didn’t get a picture, it was because they didn’t give enough money. He also claimed that a wedding at the property got preference over the donors because the wedding was paying more per person to be there.

Trump spent many minutes making false claims about the 2020 election, claiming Democrats “rigged and stole that election, and we’re not going to let that happen again.” He bragged about his golf game extensively, citing tournaments at his own clubs that he ostensibly won. He touted the value of Mar-a-Lago and said its ballroom had raised more money for charities than other properties, calling it the “center of the universe.”


“When you are Democrat, you start off essentially at 40 percent because you have civil service, you have the unions and you have welfare,” Trump said. “They get welfare to vote and then they cheat on top of that. They cheat.”

He recounted his 2016 victory over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and claimed he received a better deal than her on the venues chosen for their respective election night parties.

The Biden campaign slammed Trump’s remarks, dismissing his criticisms of Democrats. “What Donald Trump dismisses as ‘welfare’ to his billionaire donors are benefits that Americans have earned,” like Social Security and Medicare, the statement, posted on X on Sunday, read.

The campaign also attacked his allusion to Nazi Germany in his comments about the Gestapo tactics. “Trump is once again making despicable and insulting comments about the Holocaust, while in the same breath attacking law enforcement, celebrating political violence, and threatening our democracy,” the statement continued.

Trump delved into several other topics as well. He lamented the bribery charges lodged against Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Tex., suggesting that he “got indicted for political reasons, because he was tough on the border.” According to a federal indictment unsealed Friday, Cuellar and his wife accepted $600,000 in bribes from an oil company controlled by the Azerbaijan government and a bank headquartered in Mexico.

During the luncheon, Trump invited numerous lawmakers to the stage and offered stories about each one. He also openly discussed potential vice-presidential candidates, comparing them in the style of his former reality show, “The Apprentice.”


“It’s funny when I listen to the fake news, they all say, ‘Well, you know, he’s going to have a hard time getting people in his administration because he’s very tough and I’m not sure he can get anybody to be vice president of the United States,’” Trump said. I’ve got 50 people calling me, begging me … ‘I’ll cut off my right arm, sir. Please, I want to be the vice president.’ These are ambitious politicians.”

Among those widely mentioned as vice-presidential hopefuls, he praised Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., for her questioning of the president of Harvard during a hearing on antisemitism on campus, saying “everybody said she’s going to be the vice-presidential candidate.” He called Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., “one of the greatest surrogates.” He said Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, “turned out to be incredible.” He praised Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as “a talented guy,” adding, “Every time they say ‘Is he being considered?’ and I say ‘Absolutely.’” He called North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum “really impressive” and observed he wasn’t “getting any airtime” during the GOP primary, when Burgum made a short-lived White House run.

At one point in his remarks, Trump – who has struggled with how to address his own handling of the pandemic – asked: “What does COVID mean?”

“I call it, affectionately, the China virus,” he said, a reference to the outbreak’s initial appearance in Wuhan, China.

He then said that if he is reelected and China makes a good deal with him, he will stop using the term.

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