Trump’s 77, and He’s Going to Get His Nap In, Damn It!

by | Apr 18, 2024 | The Truscott Commentaries

Trump apparently nodding off at his “hush-money” trial in New York. Image: X

Trump’s 77, and He’s Going to Get His Nap In, Damn It!

by | Apr 18, 2024 | The Truscott Commentaries

Trump apparently nodding off at his “hush-money” trial in New York. Image: X

The facts of Trump's trial—engaging in election interference which he is accusing his opposition of—have not been enough to keep him awake. But, hey, maybe the verdict will.

Republished with permission from Lucian K. Truscott IV

It’s not possibly the only thing, it is the only thing I have in common with Donald J. Trump: the ability to let my chin drop to my chest and just go to sleep practically anywhere. I’ll amend that, too: not practically anywhere, but anywhere.

Trump showed off this towering accomplishment of self-care on Monday and Tuesday of this week by falling asleep in a Manhattan courtroom while facing 34 criminal charges of violating New York state laws by paying off Stormy Daniels, an exotic dancer and actress in pornographic films, so that news of his sexual dalliance with her would not come out before election day in 2016. He was, in other words, trying to cover up a scandal that might have cost him enough votes among his conservative base that he could have lost the election.

He got away with it in 2016. He got away with it during his first year as president in 2017. Finally in January of 2018, the Wall Street Journal published a story about how Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, had paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to shut her up about the sexual encounter she had with Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, California, in 2006.

You read that right: The story of how Trump ended up in a New York courtroom began 18 years ago.

Trump staved off being charged with violating campaign finance laws during the time he was president because of a Department of Justice rule that sitting presidents cannot be charged with violating federal crimes. Michael Cohen was not protected by this rule, however, and the DOJ began an investigation of him in 2018, getting a warrant to search his office, home, and a room in the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan. Armed with evidence gathered during the search, the DOJ readied charges against him. Cohen surrendered for arrest in August of that year and pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, and one count of making an illegal campaign contribution at the behest of “Individual 1” for “the principal purpose of influencing the election.”

Individual 1, as everyone knew and as Cohen confirmed, was Donald J. Trump.

During the time that the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York was investigating Cohen and gathering evidence that implicated the President of the United States, that office did not share its evidence with the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, which also had an interest in crimes committed within the Borough of Manhattan. 

So, that office did not charge Trump with violating New York state laws until April 4, 2023 when Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg charged him with falsifying New York business records “in order to conceal damaging information and unlawful activity from American voters before and after the 2016 election,” according to a press release issued by Bragg’s office at the time of Trump’s indictment.

Trump’s lawyers filed this motion and that motion seeking to get the charges dismissed or delay his trial, and so just over a year later, Trump finds himself being tried with violating all those New York laws years ago in order to coverup a sexual encounter he had with Stormy Daniels nearly two decades ago.

It is not within my powers as a writer to describe how pissed off Donald Trump is that he is standing trial for trying to cover up having sex with a porn star, but this photograph of him in court might do:

I don’t know what it’s like to be on trial, but I do know what it’s like to cover a criminal trial as a journalist, and I can tell you that even when the person on trial is famous, and even when the stakes are about as high as they come, a criminal trial can be one of the most boring occasions that you, or anyone, will ever experience. I covered the murder trial of Lt. Calley for having killed 109 civilians in the hamlet of My Lai in 1968. (A total of 504 were massacred, but for various technical reasons, Calley was charged with killing only 109 of the dead.)

I was in the courtroom at Fort Benning in 1971 when Calley testified in his own defense. As dramatic as the occasion was, his testimony was dry, and yes, boring. I could see fellow journalists sitting in the press section yawning with notebooks in hand.

While Trump’s trial is technically and formally underway, all that has happened so far has been evidentiary motions and the selection of a jury. Dozens of members of the public have been questioned by the prosecution and defense, and seven have been selected to be jurors. Reports from the courtroom have described the scene as Trump has had to listen to the reading of multiple social media posts that were written by potential jurors as the defense has sought to disqualify them for bias due to the alleged anti-Trump nature of their posts. Trump was said to be so unhappy with one potential juror that he muttered audibly to his lawyer about the juror and gestured with his hands, drawing a warning from the judge to Trump’s lawyer that he would not tolerate any more “intimidation” of jurors by his client in his courtroom. Trump’s lawyer whispered an admonishment to his client, about which Trump was described in press reports as “unhappy.”

None of this, however, prevented the former president from getting his naps in. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported that Trump nodded off several times on Monday, and other reports described Trump’s chin hitting his chest and his eyes closing yesterday as well.

A report in the press today attempted to explain Trump’s apparent sleepiness in court as due to his “lifestyle,” pointing out that while others slept on Tuesday morning, at sometime after 5:00 a.m. Trump was up rage-tweeting on his social media platform, Truth Social, about how unfair it is that he is being subjected to “election interference” by being on trial in the midst of a political campaign. 

Donald Trump is on trial for having attempted to influence and thus interfere in the presidential election of 2016 by having his personal attorney pay money to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet so that his sexual encounter with her would not become public before election day. 

Ironies abound. So far, however, those ironies have not been enough to keep Donald Trump awake at his own trial. But, hey, maybe the verdict will.

Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives in rural Pennsylvania and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better.

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