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‘That’s the Kool Aid’: Republicans triple down on Trump the morning after guilty verdict

WASHINGTON — Here, on Trump’s Morning After, Republicans are feeling bullish. That’s right. On the right — today’s new right, that is — former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict is seen as a boon for the GOP.

While the GOP could use this week’s historic guilty verdict to break up with the man who co-opted their party back in 2016, it doesn’t seem Republicans are ready to go back to their Reaganesque conservative roots. Instead, they’re tripling down on Trump and betting that his personal brand of populism will carry the party to victory come November.

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Republican elected officials are even going so far as to predict Trump, fresh off being found guilty on 34 counts, will gain support.

“I think it will bolster his support,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) told Raw Story Thursday night, just after the ruling came down. “I think that this verdict is bad for Democrats, because it will embolden people who feel that the government is corrupt. And I can tell you, there are many that do. It will embolden them to go out and support Trump when otherwise they might have stayed home.”

Right after the verdict dropped, Trump’s campaign blasted out four fundraising texts in five hours.

Cynthia Lummis

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“JUSTICE IS DEAD IN AMERICA!” read one. “THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IS RIGGED!” read another. “I AM A POLITICAL PRISONER!” declared the first blast that went out not even a half hour after the historic verdict was rendered.

Appearing to forget the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor and terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2021, Trump declared in another fundraising email that Thursday was the “DARKEST DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”

It’s not hyperbole, at least not according to Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), a lawyer by trade.

“In this case, he’s right,” Griffith said. “And he says a lot of things that I go, ‘C’mon, give me a break,’ but right now — even though he’s not in custody, per se, he’s in essence under house arrest — and he is a political prisoner. I don’t have any question on that. I agree with him.”

Trump fundraising message
A fundraising message from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign following a jury returning a guilty verdict May 30, 2024, on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels. (Trump campaign)

The fundraising appeals from team Trump aren’t misguided. They’re targeted, precise strikes.

“The Trump political team, I think they’ve got to see this as a victory,” Griffith said. “I think Trump gets a boost in polls. I think it’s that offensive to a lot of Americans that he’ll get a little boost. He’s not going to get all the Democrats, I’m not saying that, but he’s gonna get a few more of the Independents, at least for the next few weeks. They’re just gonna be like, ‘Really? Seriously?’”

Funny thing is, that’s how Democrats are reacting to the GOP coming around Trump after a jury of his peers found him guilty of 34 crimes yesterday.

Democrats in disbelief

Republicans would rather discuss Trump’s persistent lead over President Joe Biden in swing state polls, but Democrats say not so fast.

“I don’t know what it is you journalists drink. We just had a former president, for the first time, convicted of 34 criminal charges and you want to ask me about Biden?” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told Raw Story Thursday night. “I mean, I’m sorry, we need to focus on what this means to and about Trump. And I think it’s going to give the country pause.”

While Democrats have, up until now, failed to redefine Trump to millions of his supporters, they say this time is different. They plan to tie the GOP to Trump’s guilty verdict every chance they get from now through Election Day. Trump also remains charged with 54 additional felony counts across three separate criminal cases slowly playing out in Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

“That’s the Kool Aid they’ve drunk, and they’re going to have to live with the decisions they’ve made, but they are, essentially, mollycoddling a convicted felon,” Connolly said. “So much for tough on law and order. So much for defending our police. So much for wanting to lock people up.”

Gerry Connolly
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). (Belish / Shutterstock)

To Connolly, and many Democrats, the 2016 election is still a fresh, if sore, memory.

“Trump would lead them into ‘lock her up’ about, you know, a silly email kerfuffle for which his opponent Hillary Clinton was never charged and never convicted. Well, he’s not only been charged, he’s now been convicted of real crimes,” Connolly said. “So if she merited locking her up even without charge or a trial, what does he merit now that he’s actually had a trial and been convicted?”

Trump’s “obviously angry and flummoxed and frightened,” Connolly contends, especially because he’s on the hook for a $435.5 million civil court judgment for falsifying financial records to inflate the worth of his properties. Earlier this year, a separate New York jury also ordered Trump to pay former columnist E. Jean Carroll some $88 million for defamation after he lambasted her for publicly accusing him of sexual assault in the 1990s.

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“So he’s already got over half a billion dollars in civil fine convictions for civil charges of which he was found guilty. Now he’s got a criminal felony conviction. So I don’t know, is your contention that this was all rigged and all corrupt and all distorted? None of this justified?” Connolly said. “I mean, at what point do you get sick of your own bulls—?”

Wherever that point is, it doesn’t seem the GOP is there yet.

The U.S. House of lap dogs?

Throughout Trump’s criminal trial, Republicans — from House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) to a handful of Trump’s vice presidential nominee aspirants — went out of their way to join Trump in Manhattan where they parroted his rhetoric.

“That was so sickening and so laughable, except it was too sad and dangerous to be laughable,” Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) told Raw Story. “For the speaker of the House to stand there, this is the antithesis of what he claims to believe in and it’s guided by his faith and his belief in the Bible, and he stood there as this man was on trial for paying off a former adult film actress. And there the speaker stood, give me a break. It was pathetic when they stood there. What do they say now?”

Like Johnson, Dean is an attorney. She remembers tangling with him before he ascended the speaker’s rostrum.

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“I have called him out. When he sat on Judiciary [Committee], I called him out for what he did to try to tear down our institutions, including the judiciary, our electoral system, the whole bit,” Dean said.

Now Dean and other Democrats are waiting to see if any of their Republican colleagues part ways with Trump and side with the courts, though most aren’t holding their breath.

“It’ll be interesting to see if anybody parts company. Anybody says, ‘I trust that jury. I trust that process.’ This is what our Constitution provides for equal justice under the law. Nobody’s above it — nobody’s below it and nobody’s above it, not even a former president,” said Dean, who was one of some three dozen lawmakers left trapped in the House balcony on Jan. 6, 2021. “I have to tell you, it just — it restores my faith. It restores my faith.”

Republicans hope to dash that faith yet.

This is the song that never ends — until it does

Trump and his legal team have proven masterful at the art of delay, which is why the New York case is the only one of the four criminal cases against him expected to move ahead of November’s election.

While Trump’s sentencing date is set for July 11, his allies expect the drama to stretch out a lot longer than that. They say all the “convicted felon” talk — while true — is also premature. Trump is certain to appeal Thursday’s verdict, and his supporters believe he has a chance to get it all tossed out in higher courts.

“I know that people like to say those kinds of things, but man has not exhausted his appeals and I believe it’ll be overturned on appeal,” Griffith from Virginia told Raw Story. “So yeah, you know, it’s not a final verdict until it’s a final verdict and until all these appeals are exhausted.”

Democrats may feel they were on the winning side in this court case, but they’re girding themselves for the public relations battle with Trump and his backers.

“There’s no doubt he will weaponize this verdict, and continue to choose violence over voting or violence over verdicts. You know, that’s just who he is,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told Raw Story. “And we have to be guardians of the rule of law and our democracy, and we’re ready.”

Eric Swalwell
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). (Kim Wilson/ Shutterstock)

That’s a message Democrats are hoping to spread far and wide. And people across the globe are watching.

“Truly, no one is above the law. It’s inspiring to see Trump legally held accountable,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) texted Raw Story from Canberra, Australia.

Boyle was late to a meeting with local officials, because he was glued to a TV, watching the verdict come down.

“Donald Trump is now a convicted felon,” Boyle texted from the former penal colony mere minutes after Trump’s verdict came down Thursday. “He should be in prison, not the White House.”

Source: Raw Story – Celebrating 20 Years of Independent Journalism

TruthPukes Take:

  • “And he says a lot of things that I go, ‘C’mon, give me a break,’ but right now — even though he’s not in custody, per se, he’s in essence under house arrest — and he is a political prisoner.
  • A fundraising message from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign following a jury returning a guilty verdict May 30, 2024, on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels.
  • On the right — today’s new right, that is — former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict is seen as a boon for the GOP.
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