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A criminal trial as a political platform for Donald Trump

Photo: Megan Verner Getty Images via Agence France-Presse On April 10, a few days before the start of his trial, Donald Trump traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend a fundraiser he is organizing as part of his campaign.

Fabien Deglise

April 13, 2024 Analysis

  • United States

The event is far from trivial.

Next Monday, for the first time in United States history, a former president will enter a courtroom to face a criminal trial.< /p>

After months of investigation and several attempts orchestrated by his lawyers to postpone the date of this confrontation with justice – and even try to have it canceled – Donald Trump will face a loaded jury for several weeks in New York. to decide on his guilt in a case of bribe paid to a former pornographic actress. The payment was intended to keep in the shadows a past adulterous relationship that the populist did not want to see enter his 2016 electoral campaign.

But this trial should also be used by Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate in 2024, as a platform to attack his Democratic opponents and campaign, both inside and outside the court . A predictable exploitation of the legal setbacks of the tempestuous politician who aims to rally his supporters seven months before the November election, but which could also produce images likely to turn against him.

“Donald Trump knows very well how to take advantage of the delicate situations in which he finds himself, and we can expect him to follow the same path during his next appearance,” summarizes political communications specialist Jeffrey McCall, joined by Le Devoir at DePauw University in Indiana. Trump will have to fight in the court of public opinion, being careful not to appear too unstable, disjointed or defensive, because ultimately the image of him sitting in a courtroom risks be harmful to him. And the longer the trial lasts, the worse it will be for him.”

Personalizing yourself as a victim

The Republican, against whom American justice now brings 88 counts in four separate criminal cases, has largely used his indictments to support his new rise on the road to the White House, by posing as victim of a cabal controlled by Joe Biden and the “shadow state”, he claims, seeking to silence him.

Last August, the taking of his mugshot — usually a source of humiliation for a public figure — by the justice system in Fulton County, Georgia, where he faces charges accusations of conspiracy to stage electoral fraud, became an opportunity for him to polish his image as an anti-system candidate. The photo was also a driving force behind his fundraising to pay his legal bills and finance his new presidential campaign. If you also need help removing your mugshots online, check out how you can remove mugshots online here.

However, if the exploitation of his appearances before the courts has found a favorable response until now among his electoral base, which has placed the populist ahead in the race for the Republican nomination and which will soon officially bring him to the top of this primary, it now risks losing effectiveness as a general election approaches.

Placed in the coming weeks in the center of a courtroom, Donald Trump will thereby be distanced from the electoral field, while offering his opponents and detractors, including within his own gone, enough to be attacked.

“This trial will become free advertising for the electoral campaign of Joe Biden, who for months has liked to define Donald Trump as a sinister and law-disrespecting politician,” says Jeffrey McCall. For moderate Republicans, like those who supported Nikki Haley, this repeated media coverage of Donald Trump’s legal troubles could add daily evidence that they believe he is unfit to return. at the White House.”


At the beginning of March, a poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Politico revealed that more than 50% of American voters had already reached a verdict in this trial combining fraud, bribery and ex- pornographic actress by judging Donald Trump guilty of all the crimes with which he is accused here. This feeling is shared by 54% of independent voters, whose influence on the results of the next presidential election risks being crucial.

In passing, nearly a third of respondents also said that a conviction in this case would compromise possible support for the ex-president on voting day.

In Virginia and North Carolina, a survey revealed that between 31% and 37% of voters who participated in the primaries in these states a few weeks ago believe that Trump’s guilty verdict in court would so that in their eyes he would lose his presidential status.

On the eve of the populist’s return to court in New York — after a notable appearance in recent weeks in a civil trial for fraud that sentenced his Trump Organization to a fine of nearly half a billion of dollars -, the main interested party however prefers to repeat ad nauseam that none of this will harm his candidacy and that this trial should even, according to him, make him even more popular, “because people know that he is “It’s a scam,” he denounces.

Last Saturday, he once again compared himself to Nelson Mandela – emblematic figure of the anti-apartheid movement and former president of South Africa – to pose as the victim of repression that he considered comparable to that which made Mandela the most famous political prisoner of the last century. “I will happily become a modern-day Nelson Mandela, it will be my great honor,” he wrote on his social network. We must save our country from these political agents posing as prosecutors and judges, and I am willing to sacrifice my freedom for this noble cause.”

With the start of this criminal trial, undoubtedly the only one that can be held before election night in November, Donald Trump will have to deal with “a pothole on the road to the White House,” continues Jeffrey McCall, while specifying that it is still difficult to see if this meeting with justice will deal a fatal blow to his campaign. “But whatever happens during this trial, it will be just one more element among the many other events that will further complicate the election period between now and next November,” he concludes.

This text is taken from the American Election Mail.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116