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    HomePoliticsTrump’s Tornado Twists Across the Political Landscape – “The Sunday Political Brunch”

    Trump’s Tornado Twists Across the Political Landscape – “The Sunday Political Brunch”

    Sunday, April 09, 2023


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    Former President Donald Trump PHOTO: WCBS via CNN Screengrab

    “The Brunch” is on the road for the next two weeks, with a heavy emphasis on what’s going on in the key battleground state of Florida. This is Donald Trump’s home base now, and Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) Florida home base, too. As history has shown, it’s a “must-win” state for Republicans (and often Democrats) to win the White House. It will be a point of contention in 2024. Let’s “brunch” on that this week.


    “Trump Indicted” – The former president appeared in a Manhattan courtroom to simply plead “Not guilty” to the 34-count indictment against him. It’s a mixed bag, because it’s a political and legal story at the same time, not always pulling in the same direction. “This is Donald Trump’s campaign launch,” noted one Trump opponent who said Trump’s 2024 campaign raised $8 million dollars in just the past week since the looming indictment was leaked. “These are felony crimes in New York State, no matter who you are,” said District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “We cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct,” Bragg added.



    “Trump Flies Home to Florida to Respond” – Trump held a rally at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach County, Florida Tuesday night after his arraignment in New York. While he was in court, the judge warned both the Trump team and the prosecution not to make any provocative statements that might incite civil unrest or violent protests on either side. On Tuesday night, while not encouraging any violence, Trump did say from Florida, “I have a Trump-hating judge, with a Trump-hating wife and family.” I don’t see it as a threat or a call to action, but my gut says Trump the “showman” tests the judge’s consideration of a gag order often in this case.


    “The Legal Timeline” – After Trump’s’ arraignment, the judge in the case said he would next see both sides in a December 2023 hearing. Wow! That puts it on a glide path to be a preview of the early political primaries in South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire in February 2024. That means the criminal case could be playing out on the same timeline as the presidential campaign. “This case could be going to trial in spring to fall, or late 2024.” One legal analyst said that means the November campaign for 2024 could be happening at the very same time as jurors are considering criminal charges. As I’ve reported before, the indictment and, or conviction of Trump does not preclude him from being the nominee, nor president.


    “Pay the Piper” – As if the week did not have enough drama, on Wednesday – day after Trump was charged – came another gem. A judge ordered porn star Stormy Daniels to pay Trump $122,000 in attorneys fees. She had sued Trump for defamation of character and lost. Daniels, of course, is front and center in the legal charges against Trump. He, through his then-attorney Michael Cohen, allegedly paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep quiet about her affair with Trump. You do the math. She nets $8,000 for eight years of silence, hardly “the art of the deal.” But maybe she wins on principle. We’ll see.


    “Romney Reaction” – To a person, every potential Republican opponent of President Trump has reacted with outrage over the indictment. They aren’t necessarily coming to his defense, but rather attacking the process. Why? Well, if Trump is mortally wounded, no one in the GOP wants to be perceived as if they are on the attack. If Trump is out at some point, you still want to be viable with his hard-core supporters for their votes. Trump’s “character and conduct make him unfit for office” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R) Utah. But Romney added, “Even so, I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda.”. Romney added, “No one is above the law, not even former presidents, but everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law.” But Sen. Romney added, “Even so, I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda.”


    “Freedom of the Press, Defeated?” – I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.  The judge allowed five still photographers in the courtroom, but no live or taped video cameras for television and web broadcast, nor audio for radio. Folks, as the old saying goes, “The best disinfectant in public discourse is sunshine.” Let the American public see the process, unedited, warts and all, in a live stream. That’s what CSPAN provides of the U.S. House and Senate, and so many state courts now provide. To ban live television cameras is archaic. I say this from a legal point of view and a political point of view. Yes, Trump was indicted, but he’s still a candidate for president in 2024. Let the public see it raw and unedited, and then let voters decide. It was a missed opportunity!


    “Biden Gets a Primary Opponent” – To the surprise of many people, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., said Wednesday he would challenge the renomination of President Joe Biden in 2024. He is the first to challenge the incumbent. He is the son of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy (D) New York, who was assassinated while running for president in 1968. The younger Kennedy is a well-known liberal and environmentalist. But to the surprise of many, Kennedy is a huge opponent of childhood vaccinations, and was very opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine. A new CNN poll out this past week says 30 percent of Democrats, don’t want Biden to be the nominee in 2024. Wow!


    “Other Candidates Announce” – I’m tired of this being framed as just a Trump v. DeSantis race. If the field gets crowded, and I predict it will, all bets are off. Let’s concede Trump and DeSantis are both in. Former Gov. Nikki Halley (R) South Carolina is in as well. Former Vice-President Mike Pence continues to nibble at the edges, but I say he’s in. Former Secretary of State, CIA Director, and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R) Kansas is also giving a look-see, and I say is in, too. There could be a bunch more in the hot tub.


    “Another President from Arkansas?” – Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) Arkansas said this week, he, too, will run for president. He has a long, impressive resume, serving most recently for eight years as governor. He was in the U.S. House of Representatives and was the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration under President George W. Bush, and also served him as a top deputy in the original Department of Homeland Security. Prior to that, Hutchinson was a U.S. Attorney under President Reagan.  Hutchison is a “dark horse,” but keep a close eye on him. He could be a factor. Media friends, give him, and the other non-Trumpers 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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