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    HomePoliticsGoLocalProv | Riding the Trump Impeachment Train – “The Sunday Political Brunch”

    GoLocalProv | Riding the Trump Impeachment Train – “The Sunday Political Brunch”

    Sunday, April 02, 2023


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    Former President Donald Trump

    Well, the bombshell finally landed in our laps. Former President Donald Trump was indicted Thursday by the Manhattan grand jury investigating the intersection of some of his business and political dealings. It’s becoming cliché that “no current or former U.S. president has ever been indicted.” We are in uncharted waters with perhaps the most unconventional American politician of all time. Let’s “brunch” on that this week.


    “Pump Trump?” – “He’s going to make campaign fodder out of this. This is the opening salvo for his reelection bid,” said presidential historian David Brinkley of Rice University. Brinkley is the son of legendary NBC and ABC news anchor David Brinkley and comes by his knowledge from a front row seat of current events and history. “When you have Donald Trump holding a baseball bat last week (at a campaign rally in Texas), that’s a symbol of war,” Brinkley added in a CBS News interview. Not real war of course, but to many the provocation of the violent anger that manifested itself on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.



    “Trump in Handcuffs” – There are so many scenarios as to how the former president will turn himself in. Will there be a “perp walk” with him in handcuffs? Will there be the classic booking desk photo with fingerprints? Will he yell, “I demand my rights!” Look, this is Trump’s wheelhouse with a flair for dramatic political theatre. He probably welcomes all of the scenarios that I just described. Remember after the raid of his Mar-A-Lago estate, and the confiscation of classified documents, he spun the raid in his favor. “I am a victim,” Trump said a number of times as he announced his 2024 election bid from Mar-A-Lago. It’s a line that plays well to his agreeing voter base. Trump is scheduled to appear in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday at 2:15 and his lawyer says he will not appear in handcuffs. I doubt it will be a low-profile affair.


    “What Say You, President Trump?” – Here is a quote from emailed press release Thursday: “This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats – the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country – have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement.”


    “Can Trump Still Run if Indicted?” – The simple answer is yes, even if he is convicted. The U.S. Constitution lists just three qualifications to be president: 1) you must be a native-born U.S. citizen; 2) you must be 35 years old; and 3) you must have resided on U.S. soil 14 years prior to taking office. Trump meets all three. He can run and win in 2024 and return to the Oval Office. Even if convicted, there could be years of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court which moves at the pace of a turtle. Of course, he could be impeached and removed from office by Congress, but since the U.S. House is controlled by Republicans right now, that’s doubtful.


    “Ron DeSantis for the Defense” – This has to be awkward for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Florida, who has been both a Trump ally, and then Trump nemesis over the years. DeSantis, an undeclared candidate, is still the biggest threat to derail the Trump presidential bid in 2024. Both men hail from Florida, one of the two must-win red states on the way to the White House. On Thursday DeSantis called the indictment of Trump, “un-American.” He said he and his state would not help in any request to extradite Trump back to New York to face charges. “The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American,” DeSantis said. As a practical, political matter, DeSantis is guarding his flank. If he beats Trump for the GOP nomination in 2024, he’ll still need Trump’s voters to win in November. In many ways, it’s the classic “love-hate” political relationship.


    “Pesky Pence Problems” – Former Vice-president Mike Pence must also walk a similar tightrope to keep Trump voters appeased, especially if Pence winds up being the nominee. Pence, on CNN, called the Trump indictment an “outrage” and “the criminalization of politics in this country.” He added that, “You have the attorney general and district attorney that targeted an American in this campaign.” While Pence needs to paint himself as a Trump ally, he also has to distance himself from his radioactive former boss. This week a federal judge ruled that Pence must give grand jury testimony about communications he had with Trump leading up to January 6, 2021. Pence, who was furious with Trump over January 6th, could still decline to testify, claiming executive privilege.


    “The Pence Legal Dilemma” – This is a groundbreaking case. I say no matter who wins at the district and appellate court levels; this whole matter is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Pence has two masters. As Vice-president, he is part of the executive branch, shielding him from testimony. But as VP, he’s also President of the U.S. Senate, charged with certifying elections, so in that role, he’s part of the legislative branch, and in theory, could give testimony. This ruling will be fascinating with regard to the separation of powers, executive privilege, and Constitutional checks and balances.


    “Follow the Money” – Friday, March 31, marks the end of the latest quarterly campaign contribution filings with the FEC, the Federal Elections Commission. We’ll see if Trump got a huge bump from all his recent legal troubles or if donors decided not to touch him with, “the proverbial ten-foot pole!” My gut says all the controversy is only fueling campaign donations.


    “Dominating the News Cycle” – I was trying to remember the last time I saw presidential candidate and former Gov. Nikki Haley (R) South Carolina on network TV. The same for former Secretary of State, CIA Director, and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R) Kansas. And until the Trump indictment, Mike Pence was invisible, too. How do you run a competitive campaign, when even bad news about a candidate (Trump), sucks all the oxygen out of the room? It has to be enormously frustrating. At the same time, media outlets need to be more aggressive in offering these folks some airtime.

    Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the seven Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, its five neighboring states and the entire Washington, DC media market. He is also a MINDSETTER™ contributing political writer and analyst for and its affiliates.



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