How Will Trump Try to Spin an Indictment to His Advantage?Roundup
tags: Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels
Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst, is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author and editor of 25 books, including the New York Times best-seller, “Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Lies and Legends About Our Past” (Basic Books).
The news of a potential indictment would likely derail most presidential candidates.
But former President Donald Trump isn’t most presidential candidates, and we’ve seen him thrive in politically challenging environments before.
Ever since Trump announced last week that he would be indicted in New York, where a grand jury has been hearing evidence about an alleged scheme to falsify records to conceal hush money payments to an adult-film star, we have been waiting to learn his legal fate.
But it seems New York is not his only cause for concern. Trump’s legal troubles could be ramping up elsewhere, with an appeals court ruling that Trump’s defense attorney must testify before a grand jury investigating the handling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and Georgia prosecutors considering potential racketeering and conspiracy charges in connection to his attempt to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State.
However, it’s worth remembering that the former president has already survived two impeachments, numerous investigations and countless controversies before. Given what he’s gone through, and how he’s established his political persona, an indictment that might end other political careers is not an inevitable body blow for Trump.
So, why might Trump gain further strength if he is indicted?
Trump’s legal troubles play directly into the ways he has packaged himself as a politician. For one, Trump thrives on media attention. This is his major weapon in political combat. He loves to dominate the news cycle, redirect national conversations, lash out at his enemies and eclipse all other issues. Trump, who has an instinctive feel for the rhythms of cable television and social media, did it again this week. As war rages in Ukraine and US officials try to contain a potential fallout in the banking sector, there’s been considerable coverage of his possible arrest after his Truth Social post this weekend.
It doesn’t seem to matter that much of the attention is negative. As president, reality television star and real estate mogul, Trump has cast himself as a fighter who has warded off individuals and institutions that he claims are out to get him. This is an essential part of his political persona: the aggrieved public figure who is at perpetual war with the world around him.
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