Donald Trump holds his first campaign rally since the Mar-a-Lago raid

Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican Party went into general election mode on Saturday night in the former president’s first rally since the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago club.

He called the raid “one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history” and “a travesty of justice.”

“They are trying to silence me and more importantly they are trying to silence you. But we won’t be silenced, will we? Mr. Trump said in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Investigators recovered thousands of documents during the search of his Florida property, including more than 100 bearing classified and top secret markings.

Mr. Trump’s endorsed picks won many Republican primaries this summer, but many of the candidates he backed were inexperienced and polarizing figures currently struggling in their November races.

That puts control of the Senate — once supposed to be a lock for Republicans — on the line.

Mr Trump’s picks include TV personality and Republican candidate Dr Mehmet Oz from Pennsylvania, author JD Vance in Ohio, venture capitalist Blake Masters in Arizona and former football star Herschel Walker in Georgia.

“Republicans have now nominated a number of candidates who have never run before for high-profile Senate races,” veteran Republican pollster Whit Ayres said.

While not ruling out his party’s chances just yet, he said, “It’s a much tougher business than a candidate who has won several tough political races before.”

Choices endorsed by Mr. Trump have won many Republican primaries this summer (Sean McKeag/The Citizens’ Voice/AP)

The stakes are particularly high for Mr Trump as he lays the groundwork for an expected presidential election in 2024 amid a series of mounting legal challenges.

President Joe Biden gave a prime-time speech in Philadelphia last week, warning that Mr Trump and other “Maga” Republicans – the acronym for “Make America Great Again” – posed a threat to the American democracy.

Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked Mr Biden – at one point saying “first and foremost, this election is a referendum on the corruption and extremism” of Mr Biden and the Democrats – and cast a brief spotlight about Mr. Oz and Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for governor of Pennsylvania. .

Mr. Mastriano, he noted, had fought with him from the start to try to help Mr. Trump annul the 2020 election and stay in power, saying he had fought “like very few people fought.”

While Republicans were once seen as having a good chance of taking control of both houses of Congress in November, benefiting from soaring inflation, high gas prices and falling approval ratings for Mr. Biden, they’ve found themselves on the defensive since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion rights.

Some candidates, like Mr. Mastriano, stick to their main campaign playbooks, hoping they can win by toppling Mr. Trump’s loyal base even if they alienate or ignore more moderate voters.

But others have tried to broaden their appeal, removing references from their websites to anti-abortion messages that are out of step with the political mainstream.

Others played down mentions of Mr. Trump that once figured prominently.

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