Donald Trump, Supporters, Mount Rushmore
Supporters gather to hear Donald Trump speak at the South Dakota GOP's Monumental Leaders Rally at the Mount Rushmore Monument, September 8, 2023. Photo credit: © Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press Wire

His political exploitation of all his trials proves again that Trump should never be underestimated.

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When I stop by houses where an older adult lives — someone I do not know but hope to interview, which is the stuff of old-fashioned reporting — I often find Fox News on the tube, cranked way up. Or an old John Wayne movie. 

To the folks who watch those, they’re largely interchangeable. The theme in either venue is usually about some “courageous” figure, fighting off a welter of nefarious threats to all decent people in a calm, dignified manner. 

That same description, especially the “dignified” bit, may not spring to mind when one thinks of Donald Trump, but enough people put him in that put-upon hero category to make him viable for the presidency again. 

Trump knows this, and works the media to perpetuate this notion. 

And he’s hit the bonanza. 

Where Trump opponents see the many legal proceedings against him as a delightful comeuppance and proof the system sometimes works, for Trump and his supporters it is the opposite: the “good guy” being pilloried from every quarter, fighting multiple battles simultaneously, and living to tell about it. 


When the judge in the E. Jean Carroll case recently told Trump he could be removed from the court if his behavior continued, Trump responded, “I would love it.”

The judge replied, “I know you would.”

Certainly he would. Instead of being upset by his proven behavior and continuing insults toward Carroll, the evangelical Christians and elderly white women who make up much of Trump’s base adore his blustery bravado. 

They see him as the proverbial good man, beset by myriad evils. 

And they know this because of the constant refrain: fighting off radical leftists, criminals, foreign hordes, sexual deviants — as opposed to a red-blooded American who can sexually assault a stranger and later deny it, not by saying he would never do such a thing, but by saying “She’s not my type.”  


Trump is now in so many courthouses that the backdrop might serve for a TV series, “Trump for the Defense: He’ll go anywhere he’s needed!” 

Most people would be exhausted and demoralized by such a legal burden. Not Trump. He seems to relish it, even thrives on it. It animates him, gives him fodder for his claim that the “system” is out to get him. It makes him seem, if anything, stronger. 

By comparison, Joe Biden is presented as effete, doddering, a captive of sinister leftist forces determined to ruin America and its values. The New York judge is presented as obsessive. And the Fulton County, GA, district attorney — who has charged Trump with improperly trying to influence the 2020 presidential election — is now accused of an “improper personal relationship,” though that should have little bearing on and pale by comparison with what Trump’s supporters did to influence the election there. 

The “Trials of Trump” dynamic is so visual, so striking, it could almost seem as if Trump broke as many laws as possible, as flagrantly as possible, so as to end up in courthouses across the country and put into effect his brilliant “courthouse steps” campaign strategy. 

With that, Trump again proves he should never be underestimated. 

So far, the media, and his critics of all stripes, are simply no match. 


  • Russ Baker

    Russ Baker is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in exploring power dynamics behind major events.

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