On the afternoon of June 17, 1994, I was walking through the main terminal at LAX, going to a gate where I was boarding a flight back to New York. This was the first time I noticed the TV monitors hanging from the ceiling at every gate. The reason I became aware of the TV monitors was because there was a crowd standing at every gate watching the TV.
What was everybody watching? The white Bronco driving across Los Angeles driven by a guy named Al Cowlings, giving a ride to his good buddy, OJ.
Several hours later, around the time that my plane was somewhere between Denver and Chicago, the pilot clicked on the intercom and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that the chase has ended in Los Angeles and the police have arrested OJ.” The plane broke out in applause.
Somewhere I later read that as many as 95 million Americans saw at least some part of OJ’s ride through Los Angeles that day. I’d be willing to bet that more than 95 million Americans would tune into Trump’s perp walk on Tuesday if it’s shown on live TV.
I’m also willing to bet you that if television was allowed into the courtroom where Trump will be arraigned, that a great, national cheer will erupt when the judge asks Trump how he intends to plead.
The truth is that everyone is sick and tired of Donald Trump. The truth is that Republicans pretending to be all hot and bothered about his indictment can’t wait for him to wind himself up and disappear.
I love how all Trump’s defenders know ‘for a fact’ that he hasn’t done anything wrong. I love how they all know that the indictment is about as strong as tissue paper even though not a word of the indictment has been released.
Much of the pro-Trump narratives that have been floating around and have picked up more steam since Thursday’s indictment announcement allege that he may have used money from his Presidential campaign to reimburse Cohen’s payment to shut Stormy up. The assumption here is that such behavior might be a violation of campaign laws which are a federal offense and therefore are outside the purview of a Manhattan DA.
But this 30-count indictment appears to be focused not on violations of campaign finance laws, but on more general business practices such as lying on regulatory filings, all of which bring state business regulations into play.
Let’s not forget that Trump’s accountant, Alan Weisselberg, copped a plea last August and admitted to all kinds of tax evasions and scams for which he is currently sitting in jail. What did New York DA Alvin Bragg say about Weisselberg’s plea? Try this one on for size: “[the plea] directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity,” adding, “We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization.”
Trump’s re-election organization just sent out a bunch of fundraising emails after the indictment was announced. I don’t know how much cash came in, but it better be a lot more than what his campaign racked up at the end of last year when his final 2022 FEC filing showed a whole, big receipt of less than $4 million between November 15 and December 31.
Then you take a look at the expense ledger, and you find that on December 12, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., paid Mar-a-Lago $53,000 to rent the club. Wasn’t that date less than one month after Trump herded a bunch of people into the Mar-a-Lago club to sit through his boring and insipid announcement about the 2024 campaign?
There’s a good chance that when Trump is arraigned, the judge will issue a gag order which will not only keep Trump from shooting his mouth off but will also extend to anything he writes or any emails he sends out to donors and friends.
In other words, the 2024 Trump campaign will have lasted slightly more than four months because nobody’s going to be interested in anything Trump says about anything else.
To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, “This is how it ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper.”