Trump celebrates Billboard success of J6 Prison Choir recording at donor retreat (2024)

Trump showcased a framed plaque commemorating the Billboard success for the song 'Justice for All' by the J6 Prison Choir, according to two sources at the event.

Zac AndersonUSA TODAY

Donald Trump likes to play the J6 Prison Choir at his rallies.

Now he’s celebrating his Billboard success with the group in front of donors.

Trump bragged during a swanky private lunch event at his Mar-a-Lago Club Saturday that a recording he made with the group of individuals jailed on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol hit number one on Billboard's Digital Song Sales Chart.

The Republican National Committee is hosting a spring retreat for top donors at the Four Seasons luxury oceanside hotel in Palm Beach, and as part of the weekend attendees were invited to a lunch with Trump at his nearby Mar-a-Lago estate.

During the lunch, Trump showcased a framed plaque commemorating the Billboard success for the song "Justice for All" by the J6 Prison Choir, according to two sources at the event and a photo shared with USA TODAY.

More: Trump says Day 1 priority if he wins is releasing Jan. 6 rioters

The Trump campaign said in a readout of the meeting sent to reporters that Trump's daughter-in-law and RNC co-chair Lara Trump "presented President Trump with a Billboard Music award for the No. 1 song 'Justice for All."

The recording wasreleased commerciallyon March 3, 2023. It features Trump saying the "Pledge of Allegiance" while the Prison Choir sings the "Star-Spangled Banner."

In the picture shared with USA TODAY, the former president and Lara Trump are posing next to the framed Billboard acknowledgement Saturday.

"He said something to the effect that: I was approached about helping out, I did it as a favor, I didn't think much about it, next thing I know, it's top of the charts! I mean can you believe it? It was higher than Taylor Swift!" an individual at the luncheon told USA TODAY.

Another person at the luncheon who saw Trump with the framed Billboard acknowledgement said, "I’m not sure what the hell it was, it was related to music. I had no idea. I had never heard of it happening."

Patriotism and 'God bless America'

“It was just like an award he was pleased about," the individual added. "It was Americana, it was patriotism, it was Trump aligning himself with god bless America.”

The recording is part of Trump’s efforts to whitewash what happened when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory.

The attack on the Capitol led to Trump’s second impeachment and contributed to felony charges being filed against the former president for efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Yet Trump as embraced the Jan. 6 defendants on the campaign trail, calling them "unbelievable patriots" and "hostages" who have "been treated terribly and very unfairly."

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbiaannounced in Marchthat 1,358 people have been charged with Jan. 6 crimes.

Of those, 769 pled guilty and another 152 have been found guilty at trial so far.

It’s not clear which Jan. 6 defendants participated in the recording that Trump plays at his rallies, but many of the defendants held in the Washington, D.C., jail around the time when the recording apparently was made were accused of assaulting officers.

Ananalysis published by Just Security, an online forum hosted by the New York University School of Law, found that the vast majority of Jan. 6 defendants held in the D.C. Jail on March 13, 2023, were accused of assaulting officers. An individual who advised the group that made the recordingtold the Washington Postthat it was made in February of 2023 at the D.C. jail, but said she did not know who the singers are.

A buffet lunch full of energy

Attendees at Saturday's Mar-a-Lago event were treated to a buffet lunch. They described the atmosphere as full of "optimism" and "positive energy." One individual noted that Trump was surrounded by elected GOP leaders who have criticized him in the past, and argued that the party is coalescing behind him.

Trump asked high-profile GOP leaders, many of whom are believed to be on his short list of possible running mates, to join him on stage.

A photo shared by the Trump campaign shows vice presidential contenders such as Florida U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, New York U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, Ohio U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance on stage with Trump, along with others such as former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose prison sentence was commuted by Trump after he was convicted of corruption charges.

The donor retreat drew about 400 people and has become an audition of sorts for Trump's vice presidential candidates.

Some Republicans believe it would be a good political move for the former president to pick a woman or a racial minority to balance out the Republican ticket as it challenges President Joe Biden.

Yet both Rubio and Scott downplayed the role that race would play in the presidential campaign to the group of GOP donors Friday, according to three people who were in the private event and spoke with USA Today.

Trump celebrates Billboard success of J6 Prison Choir recording at donor retreat (2024)
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