Sun. May 26th, 2024

How Trump is taking advantage of the hush money trial spectacle

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May17,2024

Former President Trump’s New York hush money trial has quickly turned into a media spectacle, allowing Trump to garner attention as he effectively merges his campaign with his courtroom attendance.

Trump aides have noted the “wall to wall” coverage of the former president’s remarks to reporters outside the courtroom on Monday and Tuesday, sharing photos of nearly every major broadcast network airing his comments live as he railed against the judge, the prosecutor and President Biden.

Trump separately capitalized on media interest with a campaign stop at a bodega in Harlem after attending court on Tuesday, taking note himself of the throngs of reporters who had gathered.

“They want to keep me off the campaign trail. But based on what I’m doing, I think there’s more press here than there is if I went out to some nice location,” Trump said.

The outsized media attention comes as Trump and his campaign have turned the courtroom into a bully pulpit for the former president, who is the presumptive Republican nominee for November’s election.

Trump’s rallies, where he gives hour-long, at times meandering speeches filled with misleading statements, no longer get the attention they did during the 2016 or even 2020 campaigns. His social media presence is diminished from his last campaign when he was using Twitter.

But the early days of Trump’s trial over an alleged hush money scheme has led to massive media attention, and Trump and his team are seeking to take full advantage.

The former president has in the early days of the trial spoken on camera at the start and end of the proceedings, using the opportunity and air time to attack the judge in the case as conflicted and tie his criminal cases to his political opponent, President Biden.

When Trump stopped to speak outside the courtroom on Monday, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all aired the remarks.

A Trump campaign official noted “all of the focus” is on the former president each time he is court, allowing Trump to drive his message in front of the cameras. That strategy was on display dating back to last year, when his court appearances for his indictments became day-long TV events.

“He’s taking full advantage of the fact that there’s so much media attention on the trial,” said Alex Conant, who worked as an aide on Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) 2016 presidential campaign. “It’s very unconventional, but it worked for him in the civil trials earlier this year and he thinks it will work for him again with a criminal trial.”

Conant said Trump’s message of constantly attacking the judge and prosecutor in the case is part of a playbook meant to undermine the validity of the proceedings in the eyes of the public.

Trump’s tough talk is also intended to bolster his image among some supporters as a martyr who is protecting them from persecution, Conant said.

“He has thoroughly embraced the image of a tough guy. And I think he wants to use the trial to enhance his image,” Conant said.

The former president is charged in the hush money case with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to reimbursements to his then-fixer, Michael Cohen, who paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 election to stay quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, which he denies.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll published this week found roughly one-third of adults said Trump did something illegal in the hush money case, and only roughly 30 percent of Americans said they thought prosecutors in the case were treating Trump fairly.

Still, the poll reflected the potential risks for Trump should he face a conviction.

The survey found 50 percent of U.S. adults, including 47 percent of independents, said a conviction in the case would make him unfit to serve as president.

Despite Trump’s New York City trial and his three other criminal cases, the former president has maintained a lead over President Biden in key battleground states likely to decide the election, though the gap has narrowed in recent weeks.

A Decision Desk HQ average of polls showed Trump leading in Arizona by 4 percentage points, in Georgia by 5 percentage points, in Michigan by 3 percentage points and in North Carolina by 3 points. The two candidates are neck-and-neck in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Biden campaign has largely avoided directly attacking Trump over the hush money trial in its opening days. But other Democrats have seized on reports that Trump dozed off during the first day of proceedings and have been happy to play up the contrast between the former president sitting in court while Biden hits the road to discuss issues like the economy and tax policy in Pennsylvania.

“If he’s found guilty, it will be a massive story, and we’ve never had a felon running for president before,” Conant said. “And you can be sure every time Biden refers to him he’ll remind people he’s a felon if he’s convicted.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “How Trump is taking advantage of the hush money trial spectacle”
  1. Is Trump really gaining more media coverage through this trial than he did during his previous campaigns?

  2. Trump is clearly manipulating the spotlight around his trial to fuel his campaign. It’s concerning how he’s turning the courtroom into a platform for his agendas, overshadowing the real issues at hand.

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