If you’re old enough to have been at least in high school back in the 1990s you probably remember news now and then about “that guy Trump in New York”, often from seeing headlines on tabloids in the supermarket. He was always a shameless self-promoter and hit his stride when it came to getting publicity by the early 90s. He not only didn’t care if the attention was scandalous in nature he reveled in it. And sometimes made a point of creating it, usually by one of his aliases/alter egos with “David Dennison” I believe being the main one. Trump didn’t hide his belief that any publicity was good publicity, even the scandal stuff because as many a PR flack has told many a client (usually in the entertainment biz) if they’re taking about you, even if it’s scandal they’re paying attention and will remember your name.
Trump as we know mastered this tuff long ago and even bought his way into the good graces of the head of what was considered the flagship of sensationalist tabloid “news” – the National Enquirer. Sadly, Trump got really good at this type of media “look at me!” manipulation and parleyed it into a “reality” TV show and ultimately a “reality” political career. And lordy has he built a loyal following. MAGA is increasingly considered a cult and not without reason. Trump, being a consummate con-man/grifter knows how to play these goobers (literally) for all they’re worth. I’d be willing to bet he was freaked about the now infamous “mug shot” until he saw the first ones and realized it wasn’t what he’d expected – his co-defendants standing in front of a height chart in harsh light and holding up a sign with name and booking number.
Trump saw THAT and thought “Hey – I can work with that!” And he has, selling coffee mugs and t-shirts and you just know more items are coming. He needs the money he’s hoovering up from his devotees after all. However, to a certain extent he had some control with that booking photo, being able to “pose” with a look he’d practiced. That brings me to why I’m writing this. Control of things in the actual courtroom is going to be completely out of his hands. The cameras will be on, showing everything live and any attempts to “pose” and/or “posture” will not only get slapped down by the judge but lost in the wider stream of unblinking camera coverage!
Even that however doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. Take a look at the title pick. That’s a group of defendants with I guess one attorney each. Now imagine 19 defendants, all with at least one attorney! Imagine say five times that many crowded on that side of the courtroom. (Question, do you think Trump would have elbowed his way to the front like he did at that conference of world leaders?) Having such an image streamed out all over the country, LIVE was I’m sure freaking Trump the hell out. And why not? He’d been through three bookings and arraignments already and after booking he went into a courtroom and entered his not guilty plea. He, like me and I’ll bet you assumed that in Georgia he’d have to show up in person to plead “not guilty” and doing so as one of a large crowd was NOT going to be an image that he could sell online. I’ll bet he collapsed in relief when told he could waive appearing in person and enter his plea via a filing.
Think of it this way. Almost everyone including Trump has seen Law & Order and sometimes scenes of arraignment, including a group of defendants. Their case is called, they line up with their lawyers and pleas are entered and bail is discussed, even if it’s already been agreed to both sides tell the judge who still has the final word. My favorite part in those scenes is when some rich person’s pricey lawyer starts pontificating and some wizened judge abruptly shuts them down with “Save it for trial counselor”, bangs the gavel and says “next case.” You’re damned right Trump was freaked out about being seen in that type of setting live! Even a lot of his MAGAs would be watching and IF he or his lawyers were stupid enough to make like those TV lawyers that “save it for trial” would be like a slap in the face to Trump and MAGA nation.
Alas, Georgia law allows Trump to avoid this fate. As this story by Axios notes in waiving his appearance on Sept 6 his legal filing states:
“Understanding my rights, I do hereby freely and voluntarily waive my right to be present at my arraignment on the indictment and my right to have it read to me in open court,” per the court document.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Except some other news started floating around. I saw this morning something about Trump not wanting to have to get up so early to fly down to GA to be in court on time. A reporter from the Guardian (Hugo Lowell) claimed on MSNBC this morning that Trump initially was going to head down to Georgia, but but then decided he didn’t want to get up early in the morning to fly to Atlanta! That sound exactly what you’d expect from Trump. But why you ask would he/his team put up such a smoke screen? Well, I like to think I’m reasonably smart but I’m not a genius and if I can think of what I said earlier about Trump wanting to avoid a real life “Law and Order” arraignment in a fairly plain courtroom, even if the crowd wouldn’t be as big as it could have been pundits might start speculating about it.
Hell, Trump was probably having nightmares about Lincoln Project coming out with a Law and Order – Trump Arraignment “promo” that very night – with actual footage but snarky as hell. However, if he can get pundits talking about “process” and how it makes sense for him not to fly down there when unlike for other cases he’s not required to even some comments about being petty or self-entitled? Well, that’s something he can work with when talking to his MAGAs! He can paint himself (again) as the victim of “unfair” “attacks” and complain about the time and expense of travelling down to GA when he didn’t HAVE to and the “incompetence” of GA officials for not having the arraignment the same day he had his mugshot (with a plug to order merchandise of course) taken like “everyone else does.”
MAGA goobers will eat that crap up with a spoon. So will MAGA Congress Critters and RWNJ “news.” So Team Trump teases a rumor that he can turn right around and attack mainstream media for reporting. AND in the process maybe keep them from imagine what I’ve written about tonight.
How appearing with a group of co-defendants live on TV in a state court would make Trump look small and ordinary. Use a LIE to cover the real reason Trump doesn’t want to be in Georgia this week.