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Politics: Dems Pin Trump In Nyc Courtroom And He Just

POLITICS: Dems pin Trump in NYC courtroom and he just turns it into his own personal campaign stage

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When Joe Biden flew to San Francisco on Thursday for some fancy fundraisers, reporters noted that all the televisions on Air Force One were tuned to MSNBC, where the chyron read: “Stormy Daniels wraps 7-plus hours of testimony in Trump hush money trial.”

The president might be enjoying the wall-to-wall coverage of his opponent stuck in a Manhattan courtroom, but it probably is not the electoral gift Biden imagines.

Ever the showman, Donald Trump has flipped the adversity of his lawfare travails into a triumph of free media hits worth almost $2 billion, according to data provided exclusively by his campaign.

With cameras banned inside the courtroom, the former president makes his own news when he turns up at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse at Centre Street each day.

Every morning and some afternoons, Trump stands in the draughty 15th-floor corridor outside courtroom 1530 and addresses the assembled press pack without notes for three to five minutes, delivering pithy political bullets on the news of the day, trashing Biden, Judge Juan Merchan and the lawfare that Democrats are waging against him.

Free media coverage

His monologues, carried live by most TV networks and amplified online, have delivered his campaign an average of $260 million in earned (a k a free) digital media each day, according to a report by the Meltwater media monitoring agency, which estimates the equivalent cost of placing advertisements. 

The first day of the Trump trial, April 15, delivered a whopping $440 million equivalent. The average weekly earned media during the trial has been $1.2 billion per week. 

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Dems.

The Meltwater figures cover only digital media. On TV, Nielsen ratings showed an initial boost in viewers in the first week of the trial for the most obsessed networks, CNN and MSNBC, of 30% and 6%, respectively.

Viewership fell in the second week because, without cameras in the courtroom, coverage relies on pundits giving breathless play-by-plays of Trump’s head movements or lip pursing. Breaking news! A new courtroom sketch! 

With an eye for optics, Trump delights in the fact that the 80-year-old Art Deco granite courthouse with its harsh fluorescent lights has turned out somehow to be a flattering stage set, and the vault-like ceilings make his voice resonate rather than echo. 

Every day, he takes pleasure in laying into “Trump-hating” Merchan, who has not recused himself despite the fact that his daughter Loren heads a political consulting firm that runs digital campaigns for Democrat candidates and posted a photo on social media of Trump behind bars. 

A gag order prevents Trump from mentioning Loren, so he contents himself with lambasting her father. “He’s a corrupt judge, and he’s totally conflicted.” 

He usually complains about being forced off the campaign trail and proclaims his innocence. 

“I should be right now in Pennsylvania and Florida, in many other states, North Carolina, Georgia, campaigning. . . . I’m not supposed to be here. I’m innocent, and I’m being held in this court with a corrupt judge who’s totally conflicted.”

Has his dais in court

And he pitches the promises of his second presidency, to “drill, baby drill, to bring energy down, to close up the border, to get rid of all the criminals that are being allowed into our country . . . They’re taking [them] out of mental institutions [and] jails. . . . All of this is greatly affecting our country and very negatively. Now, we’re going to make America great again. Thank you very much.”

On Friday morning before court, Trump even took the opportunity to promote his rally the next day in Wildwood, NJ. He tried out some of the lines he would use at Wildwood, railing against the “horrible gag order” and reading aloud extracts from articles in the New York Post that he said declared the case a “legal catastrophe.”

“I’ll go now sit in that freezing courtroom for 8 or 9 hours and think about being on the campaign all day.”

Perhaps having seen the Meltwater figures, Trump extended his corridor remarks on Friday afternoon to 10 minutes and announced he was unafraid of jail.

Merchan is a “thug” who “wants to put me in jail.”

“And that could happen one day, and I’d be very proud to go to jail for our Constitution because what he’s doing is so unconstitutional. . . . So fake, the whole case is fake. The judge is corrupt. It’s not a case. There’s no crime. . . . This is election interference. It all comes out of Washington.”

He gave a soliloquy on inflation: “It’s a tax on the American people due to gross incompetence.”

He said Biden “lies about everything, including his golf game” and that Biden and his donors are “against Israel.” 

All week, he used his media moments to smash Biden on the politics of the day, deciding the topics in his limo during the 4-mile drive downtown from his apartment atop Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. 

Thursday, it was Israel. 

“If any Jewish person voted for Joe Biden, they should be ashamed of themselves. He’s totally abandoned Israel, as nobody can believe it. I guess he feels good about it because he did it as a political decision.”

It was campus protests on Tuesday. 

“The country is on fire. There are protests all over the country. I’ve never seen anything like this. Many graduation ceremonies are being canceled. . . . And we have a president that just refuses to talk because he can’t talk.”

It was Biden donors Monday.

“Many of the protesters are backed by Biden’s donors. OK, are you listening, Israel?”

Off the battleground

You get the feeling Trump revels in the fact he is getting more publicity in the courthouse than he would from standing in an Ohio cornfield. It is reminiscent of 2016 when he was financially outgunned by his adversaries but ended up with more media coverage.

His Wildwood rally went ahead Saturday in front of a whopping crowd of more than 100,000 attendees, according to official estimates, and proved to be an extended version of his courtroom diatribes, with bonus impersonations of Biden.

Of course, the big crowds and the earned media bonanza reflect the fact that Trump is a consummate entertainer who puts on a free show.

But 2020 showed that crowd numbers are no guarantee of electoral victory. The hard work is still to be done in the swing states. 

Overshadowing the unexpected upside of his courtroom travails is the fact that, while the media spotlight is fixed on Trump in New York, Democratic governors in the crucial battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania are quietly using their powers to tilt the playing field in favor of Biden. 



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