Trump 2024, Never Surrender, flag
Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather outside the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse on April 15, 2024 in New York, NY. A person holds a flag with an image of Trump that reads “Trump 2024 Never Surrender.” Photo credit: © Gina M Randazzo/ZUMA Press Wire

In an act of self-preservation, Donald Trump is trying to shake the faith of his followers in the judicial system. We have seen this play out when he undermined democracy after losing in 2020.

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Between the four criminal trials Donald Trump is facing, the detailed descriptions of the offenses he allegedly (and admittedly) committed, this week’s salacious porn star testimony, and the former president’s constant ranting and raving about how mean and unfair the world is, there is one aspect of these ongoing legal dramas that is largely ignored: 

After thoroughly eroding the trust of (mainly) Republicans in US elections, he is now on his way to doing the same to the legal system. And once again, the rest of the GOP is aiding and abetting him. 

Before we lay out the particulars, it must be said that there are legitimate problems within the judiciary. Some state judges are elected rather than appointed and therefore must raise money and campaign, which surely could result in conflicts of interest. And if one party controls the White House and the Senate (which confirms presidential appointments), that party can (and will) put judges with a like-minded political ideology on the federal bench.

But these are not the issues that Trump is addressing. Instead, he claims that the entire system is rigged against him and that these trials are orchestrated by President Joe Biden himself. It is quite possible that he actually feels this way because that is how he himself would like to conduct business if he were to be elected once again.

As we noted in a recent editorial, Trump corrupts anything he touches, especially when a lot is at stake for him. For example, as a malignant narcissist he could not handle the fact that he was soundly defeated in the 2020 election, so he created The Big Lie. The same is true now when he is facing real accountability in the courts for his actions.

His entire “defense” is based on delaying the trials for as long as possible, while claiming that what he did (like staging a coup or hoarding classified documents at his home) was perfectly legal, and undermining his followers’ faith in the system in the hope that, should the need arise, they would be ready to bust him out of jail like in an old-timey Western. 

In other words, to save himself he wants to create so much chaos that, regardless of the facts in these cases, it would be practically impossible for him to be imprisoned because he has riled his supporters to such an extent that there would be a very real threat of wide-scale violence and unrest should Trump face any real legal consequences. 

And the “party of law and order” seems only too happy to do its part to undermine the justice system. 

Take Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) for example, who traveled to New York on Thursday to hold a press conference in which he said some of the things that a gag order prevents Trump from saying himself, for example, that the judge’s daughter is a “political operative.” 

Following that same logic, Scott should be even more troubled that Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was involved in Trump’s attempted coup — yet Thomas is not recusing himself from any of the related cases. 

Or that a judge appointed by the former president is actively trying to torpedo the classified documents case in Florida.

By the way, those familiar with Scott’s history know that he is entirely the wrong person to make the case that Republicans are “persecuted” for political reasons. 

In defending Trump, he claimed that he was also the victim of a weaponized justice system because he was a staunch opponent of “Hillarycare.” In reality, he oversaw a company that committed the (at the time) largest Medicare fraud in the history of the US and ended up paying $1.7 billion in fines.

In that regard, Scott is right to compare his situation to Trump’s… because they are both crooks. 

That’s not persecution, that’s prosecution. 

To be fair, Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the New York trial, apparently made donations to Joe Biden and progressive causes. If you listen to Trump and his allies, you’d think he is a big-time donor. In reality, he gave a combined $35. 

Now, one could argue that, in order to remain truly impartial, judges should not donate to any causes or candidates. That’s fair. However, those 35 bucks probably didn’t make the difference in the last election; and does that also mean that a judge couldn’t give money to the Humane Society simply because he might one day oversee a trial involving animal cruelty? 

Of course, it would be impossible for any judge to maintain that level of perfection. 

And that’s the crucial point in all of this. The justice system only works if people feel that they (and others) are generally going to be treated fairly. 

That is what Trump is trying to undermine.

To repeat, there is no evidence that any of the charges the former president has levied against the Biden administration and the justice system as a whole are even remotely true. In fact, they sound ridiculous to anybody who is paying attention. 

If Biden is truly weaponizing the Department of Justice, then he’s doing an incredibly poor job. 

For one, the president’s last remaining son, Hunter, faces federal trial next month for gun charges after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals declined to throw out the case… maybe they didn’t get the memo about those “two separate justice systems” the Bidens supposedly benefit from.

In addition, having already indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the DOJ this week also charged Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) with bribery and money laundering. 

In a Truth Social post, Trump tried to suggest that the latter was charged because he opposes Biden’s border policies, which is phenomenally stupid because his vote would clearly not be needed in the Republican-led House. 

Speaking of Menendez, here’s an example of how somebody accused of a crime should respond: 

But the former president — who, let’s face it, is not innocent — has to resort to burning the entire judicial system to the ground to save his own skin. 

As part of his “defense,” Trump tries to convince Americans that he is being treated differently than past presidents. Damn right he is — because none of his predecessors had developed quite the same criminal record as he has. 

So, when he once again nods off in a New York courtroom, he can rest assured that he is being treated no differently than any other former president who attempted a coup, stole and concealed classified documents, obstructed justice, and sparked an insurrection. 


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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