Well before the 37-count indictment hit Donald Trump on Friday, the former president had agreed to speak at Republican state conventions in Georgia and North Carolina on Saturday.
Now those party meetings are certain to draw national attention and serve as an early gauge of the feelings of GOP activists about the first former president to be indicted on federal charges.
"President Trump will get a hero's welcome at the convention," veteran North Carolina GOP consultant Marc Rotterman told Newsmax on Friday. Rotterman added that he expected a larger-than-usual crowd at the party conclave and they would be "fired up" about the indictment.
Among Republicans, the Tarheel State is very much "Trump Country." According to a just-completed Opinion Diagnostics poll among likely GOP primary voters, Trump easily beats Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by 44% to 22%. Eight other Republican hopefuls are now in single digits in North Carolina.
Former Rep. John Linder, R.-Ga., a past chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told us he "expects Trump will get a warm welcome. But it won't be unanimous. [Gov.] Brian Kemp is keeping very active and public, so I think he is looking at a 2026 Senate race and will be keeping his political team together."
Kemp clashed with the former president over the outcome of the 2020 election in the Peach State and Trump supported a losing primary challenge to the governor last year.
Kemp supporters, Linder added, "have a good reason not to be fervent for Trump but a better reason to be offended by the weaponized Department of Justice and to receive Trump well."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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