“I beseech you to control him if you can,” Justice Arthur Engoron told Donald Trump’s lawyer in court yesterday. To which the only sensible reply is: “Good luck with that.”
Nobody can control, or stop, the forty-fifth president — least of all, it seems, the legal system. The trials of Trump will drag on and on in the coming months, all sound and fury, signifying nothing. The Trump train will chug on towards the Republican nomination — and, perhaps, to the White House again.
The legal trials of Donald Trump will only help him politically
“This is not a political rally,” said Engoron, who himself seems to be enjoying the theater a little too much. “This is a courtroom.” But we all know, in our hearts even if we can’t admit it, that the manifold prosecutions and judgments against Trump are political.
In this particular case, aimed squarely against the Trump business, the judge may well find that, as reports always claim, the Trump family “systematically inflated” — systematically is an inflationary word — his assets on financial statements to get more favorable rates from banks and insurers. It will make Trump angry, it could hurt his business, people will point to the verdict and all the other legal counts Trump is facing and ask “how can this man still be considered a viable presidential candidate.” None of that will matter.
The judge and the Donald will insult each other and disagree about everything. Yet the legal trials of Donald Trump only help him politically: the latest polls suggest he will beat Joe Biden in next year’s presidential election. That’s not because everybody feels Trump is being unjustly targeted — though many do — it’s because most voters look back on the Trump years, pre-Covid, as a better time. The Biden administration insists that the US economy is strong, but American people don’t feel it.
One question is whether the strain of the trials on top of the stress of running for president break Trump — a seventy-seven-year-old man. He has had some signs of fatigue in recent weeks. Then again, voters look at Biden, and see a man who is clearly less physically and mentally capable than Trump, and think: could he really be worse?
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.