It is impossible to know how genuinely concerned Donald Trump may be about the possibility of going to prison for the crimes of which he has been accused.
The former US president says he could face a combined 561 years in prison “thanks to a left-wing witch hunt”. That may be an exaggeration, but if he is convicted in any of the three court cases he faces, he may receive a jail sentence.
So while Trump says almost nothing during his court appearances, he is garrulous when appealing to the court of public opinion.
The former president seeks the verdict of tens of millions of voters at the polls, not a jury of 12 in court.
Former congressman Will Hurd was booed offstage at a Republican dinner in Iowa last week when he said the only reason Trump is running for the White House is so he doesn’t go to jail.
But is Hurd completely wrong?
A theme that mobilizes
The former president is intertwining his campaign for the Republican nomination ahead of the 2024 elections with his legal problems.
Trump uses the charges against him as a campaign tool. In speeches, he tells supporters that he is being prosecuted because the establishment, or the “deep state,” fears he will be reelected as president.
He sends out fundraising emails saying, “If these illegal prosecutions are successful, if they are allowed to set the law on fire, then this will not stop with me. They will further control YOU.”
Trump has already used at least $40 million in campaign donations to pay for his legal advisers’ fees.
He has also made it clear that no verdict or sentence will stop his campaign, that he will continue to run for president behind bars if necessary.
And that, if elected, he will use the power of his office to quash any ongoing proceedings, and might even pardon himself for any convictions.
But trying to escape his legal troubles by running for president will soon become a nightmare.
Trump has already announced a campaign event in New Hampshire for next week, a far cry from the court hearing that will take place in Florida two days later.
Trump does not have to appear on that date to hear the additional charges brought against him in the case of the classified documents he took from the White House.
But when the trials begin in New York in March 2024, in Florida in May and in Washington at a date yet to be determined, you will be required to attend the court proceedings in person.
That will make it difficult to campaign for the duration of the trial, even for someone with a private plane at their disposal.
So far, with each accusation against him, Trump improves in the polls and tightens his grip on the Republican Party.
The story may turn out to be different when we are in a general election and, if elected, Trump runs against Joe Biden instead of his rivals for the Republican nomination.
And when, at the same time, the evidence against Trump is being presented daily in court.
In any case, once again it is the former president who defines the terms of the public debate. And he’s making everything revolve around him.
Who can get to listen to the economic policy debates while the Trump trial parade is in town?
Remember that you can receive notifications from BBC News World. Download the latest version of our app and activate them so you don’t miss out on our best content.
BBC-NEWS-SRC: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/articles/c513ekkle0zo, IMPORTING DATE: 2023-08-04 18:10:08
BBC News North American editor
#Trump #Running #President #Avoid #Jail