Donald Trump has found an unlikely group of supporters – in China.
There was a flood of support for Trump on Weibo after he said he could be arrested on Tuesday.
Trump-loving Chinese users urged him to fight the charges, calling him a “comrade” and a “king.”
Former President Donald Trump has found a group of ardent supporters on Chinese social media as his claims of imminent arrest bounced online.
On Saturday, news of a possible indictment against Trump topped the charts on the Twitter-like Weibo platform by 11:30 p.m. Beijing time. The hashtag “Trump Says He’ll Be Arrested Soon” was the fifth most popular topic on Weibo as of Saturday night, with more than 59 million views.
This comes shortly after Trump wrote on Truth Social on Saturday that he would be arrested in New York next week. Trump’s claim of a possible arrest was not based on facts released by the Manhattan Attorney’s Office.
Susan Necheles, the former president’s lead defense attorney, said that no information came out of the Manhattan Attorney’s office Saturday that Trump was being “arrested,” as Trump claimed, but was wary of her clients’ posts on Truth Social not directly contestable, Insider reported.
“President Trump is basing this on press reports,” Necheles told Insider.
When the hashtag went viral on Weibo, there was also a surge of support for Trump on the platform. A crowd of Trump-loving Weibo commenters — who made up the bulk of the hundreds of posts Insider saw — encouraged him to persevere and fight any criminal charges with all his might.
“Donald Trump, don’t back down. America is big enough to be divided in two. Do what you have to do, MAGA!
“If Trump is arrested it will signal the corruption of the American spirit,” read another comment.
“Trump, America needs you,” wrote one Weibo commenter.
Some Weibo commenters urged his “redneck followers” to “gather around their king.” Others called Trump their “comrade” — a term commonly used to refer to Chinese officials, including Chinese leader Xi Jinping — and encouraged him to “move boldly.”
Trump’s critics have also spoken out on Weibo, but they have been vastly outnumbered by his supporters.
“Looking forward to the old asshole being arrested and jailed,” read one comment.
“This madman needs to be locked up or he’ll be spouting nonsense all day,” wrote another Weibo user.
And some Weibo commenters found the whole idea of Trump being indicted just plain exciting, likening his possible arrest to events on a reality TV show.
“How funny! When does the show start?” Read a comment from a Weibo user.
Weibo is a platform tightly controlled and rigorously censored by the Chinese government. That the viral thread – and the above comments – were not quickly deleted from the platform is a good indicator that such pro-Trump discourse is something the Chinese government is allowing.
It’s not surprising that some Chinese don’t want Trump to be indicted, or that a possible prison sentence dashed his ambitions as a 2024 presidential candidate.
Researchers at the Brookings Institution think tank wrote in 2016 that some segments of the Chinese population saw Trump as a boon for Beijing and saw him as the presidential candidate who would focus more on strengthening trade ties. CNN reported in 2020 that some Chinese social media users viewed Trump as a better candidate than President Joe Biden – and suspected he would help build China by ruining America.
Meanwhile, a possible indictment in New York is looming over Trump.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is investigating whether Trump’s payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels violate New York’s election and documents laws. Bragg is also investigating whether these payments should be considered illegal Trump campaign spending.
Daniels says she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Trump has consistently denied ever having an affair with Daniels. He also denies paying her $130,000 before the 2016 election to keep the relationship secret.
A Trump spokesman and Weibo officials at Sina did not immediately respond to requests for comment from insiders.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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