Mixed Reactions to the Guilty Verdict Against Former President Donald Trump

Mixed Reactions to the Guilty Verdict Against Former President Donald Trump

Battleground voters are talking about how Trump's conviction in 2024 will shape

Voters in key battleground states had mixed reactions to the guilty verdict for former President Donald Trump in New York, with uncertainty over the charges he faced in the silent money trial.

Some voters believe a guilty verdict could hurt Trump in the 2024 election, while others believe it could benefit him, as views of Trump have hardened over the years.

Many voters, including some Trump supporters, were unsure about the trial's details but expressed mixed opinions about how the ruling would affect their voting decisions in the upcoming election.

Voters in several key battleground states reacted to former President Donald Trump's guilty verdict in New York with a mixture of disgust at his behavior and anger at the court, with an element of uncertainty about the charges he faced in the illicit money trial.

More than 30 voters in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin who spoke to NBC News painted different pictures of possible outcomes after the ruling, with some suggesting it would hurt the former president in the 2024 election, while a few others believed he would return to his rule. Others pointed out that views of Trump have become more hardline over the past eight years, to the point that only some people would turn either way next.

"I mean, you could say it could change the race, but with him — it's tough," said Jamia Reed, a 21-year-old from Phoenix who is undecided about her 2024 vote. She added that Trump has "a lot of supporters, and they are very strict in their beliefs to support him." So, I don't think the trial will make people stop supporting him. It's sad to say it, but they look at him like a god."

Although Trump's guilty verdict broke through the bubbles of people who don't normally follow the news every day, several voters who spoke with NBC News still eluded the details of the trial.

Asked if he understood the charges Trump faces in New York, 28-year-old Jalil Gray of Mesa, Arizona, said no, though he said Trump's past now "might hurt him" in 2024, even after he supported him in 2016 and 2020. He is undecided.

"I'm a normal person here — I live day to day, do my own thing, work, make my money, go home," Gray said of the accusations Trump faced. "Everything he does is what he does."

"I was just scrolling through TikTok and saw some memes about what happened with Donald Trump and all that," said Koda Forman, a Kenosha, Wisconsin, resident who is not currently planning to vote. … Something happened with him and the court and all of that [and] he was arrested."

Many Trump supporters pointed out that his legal troubles in 2023, when he was indicted in New York and three other jurisdictions on charges including mishandling classified documents and conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election, ended up boosting his polls in the Republican primary.

"Maybe it will make them vote for him more because of what they went through," said Barbara Bennett, 83, a retired nurse's assistant in Phoenix, who plans to vote for Trump for a third time this year. "I mean, I'm sure there are many things I don't like about his character, but I loved his presidency."

"I think it would backfire, which I do," said Roland Grabb, another longtime Trump supporter from Pittsburgh. "Most people want the decision to be in their hands, not some court in New York."

In Georgia, Clayton County resident Imani L., 32, who declined to give his last name, said Trump's support moved him.

"My reaction is, because I am a criminal, I will still vote for Donald Trump," Imani said, describing him as "more relatable" to young black men like himself. "What he's done in the past, what's happened, has nothing to do with his business side. He's a good businessman. So I'll vote for him."

But many other voters said the ruling will give them or their acquaintances pause.

"From what I've seen, it looks like I'm probably going to vote for Trump, but he doesn't look like a good candidate" after his conviction, Vincent Beltran of Kenosha, Wisconsin, said. President Joe Biden was not a good enough candidate. He added: "It's absurd that he went like this to win the race. I don't know, maybe I'll vote for him. We'll see."

Another voter from Arizona, who has supported Trump in the past, had similar things to say.

This is a close election, and it's possible.

"We have to persuade voters in a different direction, you know, that people may not want to elect a convicted felon," said Robbie Meyer, a 75-year-old retired Phoenix prosecutor who twice supported Trump but plans to withdraw from the 2024 election. Saying that both Trump and Biden are "terrible."

Mohamed Fadael, 34, said he was "still thinking" about his vote in Decatur, Georgia. He balances concern about Biden's policy toward Israel with a distaste for Trump and a feeling that his behavior embarrasses the country.

"I think we're going to have to work with what we have at this point," Fuzel said. "One of them, either Biden or Trump, will be president, and that's… yeah, that's the situation we're in now."

Fadil stated: "Maybe I will choose Biden because I know that Trump will do the same thing when it comes to the war in Gaza, but it will be worse for America internally."

Noah F., a 2020 Biden voter from Gwinnett County, Georgia, who declined to give his last name, said He's not a fan of Biden or Trump and doesn't plan to vote for either. Regarding Trump's guilty verdict, he said: "Honestly, what has changed? He was convicted. I mean, he's still going to run for president. A lot of people are behind him. "I don't see him losing regardless of the referee."

Several voters felt that discussing the possible effects of the case was more solid than discussing the details of the case itself, noting that Trump had raised a lot of controversy in the past decade.

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