MAGA Republicans Flock to Support Trump at Hush-Money Trial

If you’re a Republican politician looking to score points with Donald Trump, there’s a decent chance you’ve been spotted recently in or outside Manhattan Criminal Court. U.S. Senators, House members, state attorneys general, and former GOP presidential primary opponents have all traveled to New York to support the former president during his criminal trial.

Trump has publicly complained that the MAGA faithful haven’t descended on the court in droves, blaming law enforcement for restricting access to the area for blocks, which is false. Privately, he’s griped that more prominent Republican lawmakers — including those he’s considering for vice president — aren’t showing their support. “Where are they?” he angrily groused earlier this month, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

A different source familiar with some of Trump’s private comments on this topic tells Rolling Stone that earlier this month, the former president, noticeably annoyed, remarked that elite conservatives he had endorsed weren’t showing up to the trial to show moral and political support. This source also says that especially irritated after he saw the following New York Times headline, from early May: “After Large Rallies, Trump Is Greeted at Courthouse by a Single Fan.”

They seem to have since gotten the message. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) was there last week, claiming to reporters that Trump is being “persecuted” just like he was when his company was investigated for Medicare fraud. Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) were there on Monday, as was New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall have also made appearances. On Tuesday, primary opponents-turned-surrogates Vivek Ramaswamy and Doug Burgum are expected to be there, as are Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Rep. Cory Mills, and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Trump is currently standing trial after he was charged with felony 34 counts of falsifying business records in an alleged attempt to hide the reimbursement of a hush-money payment made by his former fixer, Michael Cohen. Cohen is currently on the stand, and on Monday he testified that Trump personally approved the hush-money reimbursement plan on which the criminal charges are based.

The facts of the case are immaterial to Trump’s grovelers, though. They are there to echo Trump’s cries of unfair treatment. In a statement to the media at the end of court on Monday, Trump quoted Vance and said, “What’s going on is a threat to democracy. We cannot have a country where you get to prosecute your political opponents instead of persuading voters.”

Trump’s gag order bars him from attacking witnesses in the case, but his allies certainly aren’t holding back. “Does any reasonable, sensible person believe anything that Michael Cohen says? I don’t think that they should,” Vance ranted to reporters, continuing to echo Trump’s pre-gag order attacks against Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter, who has led a Democratic fundraising firm. “Every single person involved in this prosecution is practically a Democratic political operative,” Vance claimed.

Tuberville also got some time behind the microphone on Monday, complaining about the physical state of the courtroom and the fact that the court addresses Trump as “Mr. Trump” rather than “President Trump.”

Politicians weren’t the only ones to show up in support. Standing tall behind Trump as he made his morning statements on Monday were his lawyer Alina Habba and former adviser Boris Epshteyn, the latter of whom was indicted in Arizona over alleged 2020 election interference. 

Notably absent from Trump’s team of supporters are his wife and most of his family. Melania, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump haven’t been seen. Eric Trump has made multiple appearances, but he hasn’t exactly been an enthusiastic observer, looking delightfully bored behind his father and eyeing the far-from-intricately detailed walls of the courtroom. His efforts to remain alert have worked compared to his father, who has been observed on several occasions throughout the trial jerking his head, presumably to stay awake.

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Trump’s most consistent supporter may not be his own son, but the son of Rudy Giuliani. Failed New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani, whose father was indicted along with Epshtyen in Arizona, has never met a camera he didn’t like and has been a constant figure in the courtroom. He’s been in or outside the courthouse more than all of Trump’s actual family combined. On the first day of jury selection, Giuliani didn’t make the cut to enter the courtroom, instead shaking hands with Trump supporters outside. He told Rolling Stone he views Trump like an uncle.

“Personally, I’m here for him,” he said.



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