Tuesday, April 02, 2024


In case it wasn't obvious, Politico points out that there's a pattern to Donald Trump's defiance of the courts:
Every time prosecutors and judges tried to muzzle Donald Trump, he lashed out at their families.

In three different court cases over the past six months, judges imposed gag orders that restrained the former president from vilifying witnesses, court employees and others involved in the proceedings against him. In each case, Trump responded by verbally attacking not only the prosecutors and judges themselves, but also their family members....

In all three cases, Trump exploited the fact that the versions of the gag orders in effect at the time did not explicitly bar him from attacking the relatives of judges or prosecutors.
A former Trump insider weighs in:
“It’s clearly strategic,” said Ty Cobb, who served as a White House lawyer under Trump but has become a frequent critic of the former president.
“It’s clearly strategic.” Gee, ya think?

Rolling Stone tells us that Trump has gamed this out (free link here):
According to two people who have recently spoken to Trump about the upcoming criminal trial, one of the reasons the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee is convinced he can get away with attacking Merchan’s daughter without punishment is because, as he’s privately boasted, he has tested judges and prosecutors on gag orders before — without any serious repercussions.

This included a time late last year when Judge Arthur Engoron threatened Trump with a possible night in jail for his behavior during his New York civil fraud trial. Every time, Trump has gotten away with it. So far, judges have not moved to rein in or punish Trump the way they would with virtually any other U.S. citizen, had they behaved in the same manner that the ex-president has.
I know I'm supposed to believe that Trump is sliding rapidly into dementia, but this is clearly strategic, and Trump's assessment of the situation is clearly correct -- he can keep getting away with this, because no one has the backbone to hold him accountable.

Trump's gag order now extends to the judge's family, but he has responded by posting a video that attacks the judge's daughter.

Trump is an ignorant, incurious mental lightweight whose intellectual interests extend no further than golf, gossip, and probably porn. He knows nothing about history, geopolitics, or governance. He cares about nothing except his own ego and his own resentments. And yet...

He has the wiles -- the low cunning -- necessary to understand this situation and how he can take advantage of it. He knows that the system is afraid of him and his voter base. He recognizes that the system proceeds slowly and cautiously. He's noticed that the system doesn't like to jail old white guys in expensive suits even when they clearly deserve it, and demonstrates this reluctance even when they're not backed by a nationwide army of rage addicts with AR-15s.

So he knows he can get away with this, and he knows that this will make his base willing to crawl over ground glass to vote for him in November, while not alienating right-centrist Republican voters who resist joining the MAGA army. He's also learned messaging lessons from the main tribal drum of the right-wing media, Fox News, which was created by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch -- two men who, like him, were successful but deeply resentful of the swells they didn't believe showed them sufficient respect, and who built the channel on a foundation of their own resentments. He understands that if you whine and bitch about how you're perscuted by liberals, Republican voters will fall on their knees before you ... especially if you often seem to beat the hated libs at their own game, or even temporarily defy them, because that's the dream right-wing voters want to experience vicariously every day of their lives.

Trump's brain may be tiny, but he understands how this all works. It's intelligence of a kind, and he's still got it. When he no longer has the skill to be the charismatic school brat rallying his classmates by flipping the bird to the teacher as he's marched to the principal's office, we'll know his brain is fried. It isn't fried yet.

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