Former President Donald Trump put on a show of solidarity with his close aide Walter Nauta on Friday taking him to a campaign event in Iowa, a day after both were the subject of fresh charges in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.
The twist raises the stakes for the presidential frontrunner, as evidence deepens of a cover-up.
But he shrugged it off to appear with 12 other candidates at the Iowa Republican Party Lincoln Dinner, a major part of the election calendar.
After his 10-minute speech, he shook hands with supporters and posed for photographs in a convention center suite.
A few yards away Nauta, a 40-year-old Navy veteran, looked on.
Walt Nauta looked on as Donald Trump greeted supporters on Friday night. He travelled to Iowa with the former president a day after they were handed fresh charges in documents case
The former president conferred with Nauta in the very public setting of a meet-and greet
Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to five charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing a document and scheming to conceal a material fact in a federal investigation.
Court paper alleged that he was caught on surveillance video moving boxes of files from a storage room before and after the Department of Justice ordered the return of documents in May last year.
The case was sensationally expanded on Thursday.
A fresh indictment lodged more charges against Trump and Nauta, and indicted a Mar-a-Lago property manager
Prosecutor Jack Smith handed down two more charges of obstruction against Nauta.
Trump railed against the twist in an interview on Friday morning, condemning Smith and his team.
‘These people are sick. What they’re doing is absolutely horrible,’ he told conservative radio host John Fredericks.
‘They’re trying to intimidate people so that people go out and make up lies about me because I did nothing wrong,’ he said.
They were in Des Moines where Trump and his 12 rivals for the 2024 Republican nomination delivered 10-minute stump speeches to party members
Nauta is Trump’s valet and occasional golf partner. He appeared in Miami federal court earlier this month to deny six counts related to Trump’s handling of classified documents
Nauta worked for Trump at the White House, sometimes fetching his Diet Coke, and followed him out of office to work for him at Mar-A-Lago
Trump aide Walt Nauta is seen on July 6 leaving his arraignment in Miami, Florida
He went on to defend Nauta and De Oliveira.
‘These are two wonderful employees,’ he said. ‘They’ve been with me for a long time and they’re great people and they want to destroy their lives.’
Despite the charges, Nauta has stayed in Trump’s team and continues to travel on the former president’s plane.
Even though he was frequently with Trump during his tumultuous White House tenure, he went under the radar and kept himself to himself.
What he was known for was fetching the former president’s Diet Cokes – sometimes at the press of a button – and preparing his meals.
Many aides left Trump’s orbit after the Jan. 6 violence in 2021. But Nauta was among a small group that decamped to Mar-a-Lago to build the former president’s new office three weeks later.
During an interview with the Washington Post in March, his family called him a ‘good boy’.
‘He’s not a troubled kid. He’s out there to enjoy his life, not to cause problems.’
Nauta was indicted in the original prosecution and pleaded guilty earlier this month in Miami
Nauta, the ex-president’s right-hand man and golf partner who has been loyal to him since the White House, is also staring down charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case
While other Trump aides fled in the aftermath of January 6, Nauta stayed by his side and went to work with him as a personal aide at Mar-a-Lago in Florida
His mother Pauline said a testament to his personality was the fact that he was selected to work alongside Trump in the first place.
Now he has been caught up in one of the biggest cases in the history of the Department of Justice.
His aunt Elly Nauta told told The Post that everything he did was ‘at the direction of the former president’.
‘All he was instructed was to put the boxes where they were supposed to go,’ she added.
Nauta was born in Guam and enlisted in the Navy in 2001. He would become a Senior Chief Culinary Specialist and then went to work at the White House cafeteria under Trump.
Trump promoted him to his military aide. He essentially became his valet or ‘body man’.