Donald Trump plans to capitalise on ‘spectacle’ of court cases in 2024 race

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Within minutes of leaving court in Miami Donald Trump was being mobbed by a crowd in a Cuban-American cafe as news helicopters hovered overhead.

It was an indication of how the former president plans to integrate court appearances into his 2024 campaign – and capitalise on them.

Rather than scuttling in and out of hearings he intends to maximise their potential, using them to fire up his supporters, and to raise money by venting against the “deep state” and political persecution.

In addition to the classified documents case in Florida, and the Stormy Daniels one in New York, Mr Trump faces two more potential indictments.

He is being investigated over possible election interference in Georgia, and by the Justice Department over the US Capitol riot.

If he ends up facing four indictments there will be numerous court hearings during the upcoming election campaign.
Mr Trump will use each one to advance his argument that the justice system has been “weaponised” against him by a Democrat administration. The Miami appearance sets the template for how to do that.

He will go straight from court hearings to drop-in campaign appearances, or as a reason to deliver a fiery speech. Whenever he is in court fundraising emails will go out to small donors asking for contributions.

As Mr Trump was being arraigned in Miami one went out, which said: “We are watching the ruling party attempt to JAIL its leading opponent. As of about 3:00 P.M. today, America is no longer the same nation.”

Hearings will also be an opportunity for TV coverage, and for spectacle.

Each time Mr Trump is in court TV screens across America will be filled with images of him getting on or off his plane, and his large convoy of vehicles moving in procession.

“They [his team] know this is working for him among Republican primary voters,” said Republican strategist Scott Jennings.

“These images make him look larger than life in a field of people who do not have the capacity. There’s nobody in the field as good as it as he is. The spectacle of it, that’s what he’s good at.”

It all means senior figures in the Republican Party, including Mr Trump’s rivals for the nomination, face a serious dilemma.
Polls show that 80 per cent of Republican primary voters agree with the former president, that the charges against him are politically motivated.

Consequently, most Republican politicians have sided with Mr Trump and refused to criticise him over the substance of the case – his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Ron DeSantis, Mr Trump’s chief rival for the nomination, has echoed the former president’s language, condemning the “weaponisation” of the Justice Department by Democrats.

His advisers do not want him to be accused of opportunism or to risk alienating Mr Trump’s supporters.

Meanwhile, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House Speaker, called the indictment a “grave injustice” and pledged to “hold this brazen weaponisation of power accountable”.

However, cracks in the united Republican front have started to appear.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate has pointedly refused to comment at all.

And some Republicans with military connections have expressed concern at the way national security documents appeared to have been handled.

Nikki Haley, the Republican 2024 candidate, pointed out that her husband, Major Michael Haley, is deploying to Africa this weekend.

She said: “I’m a military spouse This puts all of our military men and women in danger. If this indictment is true President Trump was incredibly reckless with our national security.”

Another 2024 candidate, Senator Tim Scott, called it a “serious case with serious allegations”.

The door to a Republican shift against Mr Trump is slowly cracking open.

As the indictments and court hearings pile up in the coming months it will get a further push.

Source link