WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump opened a West Virginia campaign rally hours after his former campaign chairman was convicted of financial crimes and his former personal attorney pleaded guilty to felonies.
Trump was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation Tuesday after taking the stage at the Charleston Civic Center.
Hours earlier, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight financial crimes in the first court victory stemming from the special counsel investigation into the president’s associates and their ties to Russia.
At around the same time, Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony counts.
The charges include arranging the payment of hush money to influence the election after two women alleged sexual relationships with Trump. Cohen says he acted at Trump’s direction, which Trump denies.
Trump then went on to say the case of a slain Iowa college student is illustrative of the nation’s disgraceful immigration laws.
He asked his audience at the rally whether they had heard about the “illegal alien” from Mexico. Iowa police said earlier Tuesday that a man in the U.S. illegally has been charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished more than a month ago while out for a run.
Trump says, “You saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman. Should have never happened.”
Trump added, “The immigration laws are such a disgrace.”
He ran on a platform of cracking down on illegal immigration to the U.S.
Additionally, he is praising the deportation of the last-known Nazi officer living in the U.S.
Trump said authorities had been trying “for decades” to deport 95-year-old Jakiw Palij. He says President Barack Obama tried, and presumably presidents before Obama tried, too, but also failed.
Trump celebrated that the deportation happened under his watch, saying of Palij: “He’s gone. He’s back in Germany.”
The former Nazi concentration camp guard lived quietly in New York City for decades and was carried out of his home on a stretcher by federal agents and flown to Germany early Tuesday.
Trump also praised Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who executed the deportation as “heroes who uphold our laws.”