The unsealed federal indictment against former president Donald Trump comes during the 2023 Western Conservative Summit in Denver.
Inside the Denver Convention Center, opinions were split between people who believe Trump should drop out of the 2024 presidential race and those who say he still has their votes.
The summit, taking place over two days, brings together conservative leaders and exhibitors to “inspire, educate, and activate grassroots conservatives to make a difference in their communities,” according to the group’s website.
Conference attendee Nancy Tuggle is not a fan of the criminal prosecution of the former president, but believes Trump’s time in power has passed.
“I’m ready for him to back off,” Tuggle said. “I was hoping after all of his bombastic stuff that kept me defending him so strongly, that he would have learned. That he would be a little bit more humble.”
Mary Cason says the indictment only helps Trump secure the nomination.
“They’re scared to death. The left is scared to death,” Cason said as she walked out of the conference.
Some conservative politicians are cautiously supportive of the former president, but others are all in. Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy vows that if he wins the White House in 2024, Trump will get a pardon.
Only one candidate so far has called for the former President to drop out.
As former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson took the stage to give a speech Friday in Denver, that position got him a few boos from the crowd.
Hutchinson is himself a former federal prosecutor.
“It’s a serious matter,” Hutchinson told Scripps News. “And it’s going to be an issue in the campaign, and we don’t need those distractions. And that’s why, if he puts the office of the presidency as high as it should be in this country, then he should step aside.”
Then there are voters like Rachel Kloefkorn, representing hard-core supporters who say no matter what Donald Trump does or is accused of, he can still count on their support.
“I love Trump. He’s president of the United States as we speak,” says Kloefkorn, repeating the false idea that Trump won the 2020 election. “He’s more of our president for the people than anybody else has ever been.”