Trump’s Napping Not An Issue Among Capitol Hill Republicans

Perhaps as planned, the lingering public image thus far of Donald Trump’s trial in New York City on charges that he falsified business documents may be his daily diatribes from behind metal bike racks to assembled television cameras.

But another image, less familiar because of courtroom restrictions on photography, will also remain for some: a peaceful, 77-year-old Trump, eyes closed serenely, silently napping as his legal fate is argued around him.

Though Trump has made President Joe Biden’s stamina a staple of his presidential campaign attacks, Republicans on Capitol Hill told HuffPost they don’t have any similar qualms about Trump, even as he’s slept through much of a criminal trial where each of the 34 felony counts against him could in theory result in at least a year in prison. The trial is nearing its end this week, with closing arguments set to begin Tuesday.

“Donald Trump runs on motor oil, by the way. He runs on motor oil. He’s a machine,” Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told HuffPost when asked about the significance of the naps.

“We ought to be talking about Sleepy Joe,” Nehls said, using one of Trump’s favored monikers for Biden.

“It’s not even close between Trump and Biden,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who recently announced his desire to become the next Republican leader in the Senate, a bid that could be buoyed by his closeness to Trump.

“No sane person in this country is going to vote for Biden,” Scott said.

None of the Republicans queried brought up Trump’s defense of his apparent napping: that he wasn’t actually asleep at all.

“I simply close my beautiful blue eyes, sometimes, listen intensely, and take it ALL in!!!” Trump posted on his social media site in an apparent response to the accounts of him nodding off.

The reports of Trump’s snoozing have been catnip for Democrats.

Rep. Robert Garcia (R-Calif.), at the infamous committee meeting where Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) got into a heated argument, displayed a blown-up picture of Trump with his eyes closed as he recounted the various times Trump had been reported as sleeping at the trial.

“I bring this up because it’s Donald Trump that’s asleep, and it’s hurting and dividing our country,” not Biden, Garcia said.

The photo Garcia used during the hearing was not from inside the courtroom, Garcia told HuffPost, explaining his staff found the shot of Trump with his eyes closed at some other moment.

But there is a photo of Trump resting his eyes during the trial, captured on May 16 by a press pool photographer for the trial and distributed by The Associated Press.

Former President Donald Trump closes his eyes on March 16 during his trial in a Manhattan courtroom on criminal charges related to hush money payments made to an adult film star on the cusp of the 2016 election.
Former President Donald Trump closes his eyes on March 16 during his trial in a Manhattan courtroom on criminal charges related to hush money payments made to an adult film star on the cusp of the 2016 election.

Mike Segar/Pool Photo via Associated Press

Trump was also captured by a courtroom sketch artist with his eyes closed during jury selection for the trial.

“It’s hypocrisy,” Garcia said Thursday. “Someone that actually can’t stay awake when he’s in a criminal hearing and the president is out there doing a bunch of things, campaigning hard.”

Some Republicans acknowledged Trump was indeed asleep but said it didn’t matter because trials are boring.

“We have a courtroom that is the most depressing thing I’ve ever been in,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told reporters outside the Manhattan courthouse on May 13. “Mental anguish is trying to be pushed on the Republican candidate for the president of the United States.”

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told HuffPost that Trump may be tired because he gets up early and “goes pretty hard.”

“I really don’t have a problem with all that. You sit in there long enough, anybody — just the mundane nature of a case, just dividing sentences up, what was said, who said it ― it just gets old,” Burchett said.

“Sleeping? Anybody would do that. It’s like watching paint dry,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who, like Scott, Nehls and Tuberville, made the trip up to New York City to show public solidarity with the presumed Republican presidential nominee.

“It’s the most unfair trial and the most boring trial and Trump has every right to go to sleep,” Norman said.

Burchett said the circumstances of Trump’s dozing should not be held against him, noting he himself had fallen asleep in church.

“And that decides my soul,” he said.

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