Trump’s pointless fury – The Atlantic

The first press conference after the trial of the now-convicted former and potentially future president was bizarre, even by his standards. Word disarticulated tends to be overused in this context, but Donald Trump lacked focus when speaking after the conclusion of his trial in New York state court on 34 counts related to the payment of the porn star Stormy Daniels. The presumptive Republican nominee rambled on about this and that, including off-topic riffs on canceled “Little League games,” “propane stoves,” rainy weather and immigrants living in “luxury hotels “. It wasn’t really a press conference – he didn’t take any questions – but it wasn’t what some feared either: a call to action.

Trump has not given up calling for violence or using the threat of violence from his supporters as a campaign strategy. Certainly, right-wing social media has been filled with threats against jurors and calls for violence in light of the verdict. But this reality, and Trump’s failure to condemn them, is not new, as unforgivable as it may be.

What was new was that Trump did not comply. His speech was somber, but aimless.

Trump could have already started using his sentencing date, July 11, as a reason for his supporters and Republican elites to rally together, much like he did with January 6, 2021. Then, the last time he lost big, he was still president. and had all the tools of the presidency to try to prevent his loss of influence and prevent the transfer of power. But he doesn’t have that time. He’s not in the office; it’s not 2021. He can still try to orchestrate disruptions, protests, even violence, but unless he is re-elected, he cannot promise his supporters that they will be pardoned. And he actually risks a prison sentence. The calculations are different.

First, Trump knows the law well enough to know that his behavior between the verdict and sentencing will be a factor in the judge’s decision as to what punishment to impose. During the trial itself, Trump risked antagonizing Judge Juan Merchan by violating silence orders and calling him a “devil” and a “tyrant,” but Trump’s day in court is not over. Just days before the Republican National Convention opens next month, Merchan will reconvene his court to determine Trump’s sentence based on a number of factors, including, presumably, whether there is a crowd outside.

Second, a lot has happened since January 6, 2021, and Trump should rightly be concerned that he won’t be able to deliver the crowds. The MAGA movement is angry but not organized. “Mass mobilizations are difficult and require work. » Atlantic» wrote Ali Breland on Friday, including “some annoying little logistical things”. No such effort appears to be underway in favor of Trump. And, as I’ve written previously, Trump supporters may be angry, but they’re also scattered and in disarray, and many of them are in jail because of the post-January 6 lawsuits. Several leaders of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, groups that took on such a planning role before the Capitol riot, have been convicted and are serving time for seditious conspiracy. Today, Trump’s rallies are modest, even as he continues to lie about the numbers.

What was notable about the atmosphere around the trial was the absence of highly organized support for Trump in the streets. Loyals among the Republican elite and potential vice-presidential candidates embarrassed themselves by dutifully roaming the courtroom, but overall the show of solidarity was mostly calm. Any speculation that Trump supporters are unlikely to show up in liberal New York is supported by the fact that Trump won nearly 40% of New Yorkers’ votes in 2020 – so supporters could have been there if they had wanted it. Trump seems to know that it is better to claim popular support – “I’m ahead of Biden by a lot,” he lied – rather than having to prove it.

Third, Trump has an election to win – and to win it, he will need more votes, in the right states. Independents may be uncomfortable voting for a convicted felon, or they may not really care – early evidence suggests there are more of the first type, but not exclusively. Meanwhile, Trump demands allegiance from his party like an autocrat, but that’s easy — the Republican Party has proven subservient — and much easier than finding a way to expand his base. Trump’s recent trip to seek support at the Libertarian National Convention was a disaster: He generated more hecklers than voters.

Trump lost the election in 2020. He lost in court last week. He’s on a long losing streak and he knows the only way to turn things around is to win the presidency. The likelihood that Trump won’t be able to help himself is still high, and he could easily call for violence on his social media platform and get a response from the hard-line fringe. But Trump may be calculating that a spectacle of unruly masses on July 11 — assuming he can get them — wouldn’t look so good for a presidential candidate with the whole world watching.

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