- Donald Trump has found an unexpected group of supporters in China.
- There was a massive shower of support for Trump on Weibo after he said he could be arrested on Tuesday.
- Chinese users who love Trump have urged them to counter the indictment, calling him a “comrade” and a “king”.
Former President Donald Trump has found a group of ardent supporters on Chinese social media as allegations of an impending arrest circulated online.
On Saturday, news of a possible Trump impeachment skyrocketed to the top of the charts on the Twitter-like Weibo platform at 11:30 p.m. Beijing time. The hashtag “Trump says he’ll be arrested soon” became the 5th most-read topic on Weibo on Saturday night, with more than 59 million views.
That was minutes after Trump wrote on Saturday’s Truth Social that he would be arrested in New York next week. Trump’s allegation of a possible arrest was not based on any facts published by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Susan Necheles, the former president’s chief defense attorney, said Saturday that there was no word from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office that Trump would be “arrested” as he claimed, but he was cautious not to directly challenge his clients’ Truth Social post, Insider reported.
“President Trump is basing this on media reports,” Necheles told Insider.
With the hashtag going viral on Weibo, support for Trump overflowed on the platform. A number of Trump-loving Weibo commenters, who made up the majority of the hundreds of posts seen by Insider, urged him not to give up and fight any criminal indictment with all his might.
“Donald Trump, don’t step back. America is too big to split in two. Do whatever you have to do, MAGA!” read a review.
Another comment read, “If Trump is arrested, it will signal the corruption of the American spirit.”
“Trump, America needs you,” one Weibo commenter wrote.
Some Weibo commenters urged their “ignorant supporters” to “rally around their king”. Others have called Trump a “comrade”, a term commonly used to refer to Chinese officials, including Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and encouraged him to “courage forward.”
Trump’s opponents also spoke on Weibo, but were far outnumbered by his supporters.
“I’m looking forward to getting the old scumbag arrested and jailed,” one comment said.
“This lunatic needs to be jailed or he’ll be talking nonsense all day,” wrote another Weibo user.
And some Weibo commenters thought the whole idea of impeaching Trump was exciting, comparing his possible arrest to events from a reality TV show.
“What fun! When does the broadcast start?” Read a comment from a Weibo user.
Weibo is a platform that is tightly controlled and heavily censored by the Chinese government. The fact that the viral thread – and the comments above – was not quickly removed from the platform is a good indication that this type of pro-Trump rhetoric is allowing the Chinese government to happen.
It’s not surprising that some Chinese people don’t want Trump impeached or a possible prison sentence to derail 2024 presidential ambitions.
Researchers from the Brookings Institution think tank wrote that in 2016, some sections of the Chinese public saw Trump as a boon to Beijing and saw him as a presidential candidate who would focus more on strengthening trade ties. CNN reported that in 2020, some Chinese social media users saw Trump as a better candidate than President Joe Biden and predicted that he would help build China by destroying America.
Meanwhile, a possible indictment in New York is now looming over Trump.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is investigating whether Trump’s payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels violated New York election and document laws. Bragg is also investigating whether these payments could be considered illegal Trump campaign spending.
Daniels says she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Trump has consistently denied having an affair with Daniels. He also denies paying her $130,000 to keep quiet about the affair prior to the 2016 election.
The Trump spokesperson in Sinai and representatives of Weibo did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.