Imagine for a moment that you’ve had an affair. Okay, not a great move, but you’ve done it. Next, you pay the illicit partner hush money. That’s not illegal in some parts of the world. So far, despite the unsavoury nature of everything, nothing could be considered a crime, but then you use business money and falsify your business records to cover up the payments. To make matters worse, you’re running for political office, and spending money to help an election campaign, but not declaring it, is illegal.
That’s the gist of the allegations made against Donald Trump. I must stress that he has not been convicted, and is innocent until proven guilty.
Now, inevitably, Trump supporters are declaring this all to be a sham. ‘It’s a witch hunt!’, they cry. Buoyed by the rhetoric from the man himself, they insist the charges are part of a smear campaign. The firebrand preaching is carefully designed to poison the well against these proceedings. It is intended to damage the credibility of the charges and any potential conviction.
We’ve seen this playbook before. Long before Trump lost the 2020 Presidential Election, he tried to suggest his defeat would be the result of foul play, and his supporters lapped up the notion. It is in no small part through such tactics that some of his more unhinged followers indulged in insurrection in the infamous Jan 6th Capitol riots. Some people are prepared to swallow everything Trump says, without question or any form of due consideration. They are content to ignore evidence, and happy to accept Trump’s baseless claims. His supporters are now doing the same with regards to District Attorney Alvin Bragg. They are attempting to smear his character and suggest personal bias is behind the multiple charges brought to bear against their messiah. They cannot point to evidence, so instead they play these rather childish games.
Whether or not Trump is guilty of these charges is a matter for the courts to determine, upon hearing the evidence. Whether or not this trial will lead to further trials (how about the serious matter of allegedly having classified material when he shouldn’t have) remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen if Trump will stop poisoning the well, and stop his polarising tactics.