This Monday past was one of the stranger days in my many years in and around politics.
The wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump’s journey to the Manhattan courthouse beginning with his motorcade from Mar-a-Lago to the airport in Florida to live coverage of his plane coming in for a landing in New York, to the motorcade to Trump Tower followed by breathless conjecture of talking legal heads deep into the night telling us what would happen the next take. It was all there for the taking.
If the Secret Service had a sense of humor (which it does not) they would have hired at last one Ford Bronco for the trip from Trump Tower downtown to the courthouse for the formal arrest and arraignment.
Would he be fingerprinted? (Yes). Would there be a mug shot taken? (No). Would he be handcuffed? (No). Would he, with his own voice, plead “Not Guilty?” (Yes). Would Trump be warned by the Judge to watch his language? (Yes).
Would it be made crystal clear that Trump is the FIRST PRESIDENT OR FORMER PRESIDENT TO BE INDICTED? (Yes. About one thousand times).
And we heard about these things not once or twice but dozens of times over many hours on all the cable stations.
No cameras were permitted in the courtroom. Still photographers could shoot before the proceedings began, and court cartoonists were permitted to capture the half-hour-or-so event.
My extensive legal training (one three-hour Con Law class at Marietta College, Marietta Ohio 45750) didn’t cover rules of procedure in a New York State courtroom. I knew this because I grew up in New York, but in the Empire State the “Supreme Court” is the entry level trial court.
The highest court in New York is the Court of Appeals. You might think that in the 247 year since New York became a state they might have fixed this topsy-turvy nomenclature, but you would be incorrect.
Once the indictment was unsealed, Republican friends and former friends all but took to the streeta in Our Nation’s Capital wailing about how unjust it was to INDICT A FORMER PRESIDENT over a dalliance with a porn star.
I couldn’t get away from the memory of how adamant those same former friends were when they caught Bill Clinton in an dalliance with a White House intern.
I know. I know it wasn’t the sex it was the lying about it. Doesn’t that ring familiar with Trump? It wasn’t the sex, it was the hush money.
What’s sauce for the Clinton should be sauce for the Trump.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats who are now signing up for front-row seats at the gallows, were apoplectic that Bill Clinton not only had to dodge flying lamps hurled by Hillary, but impeachment by the House.
Clinton was impeached on two counts, but acquitted in the Senate. Just like Trump.
Speaking of aggrieved wives, no word that I’ve read, seen, or heard, on whether Melania Trump will ever appear on the same stage with Donald again. Of, if she does, whether she will show her disdain for the whole thing by digging out her infamous “I Really Don’t Care, Do You?” jacket.
It may be in a box at Mar-a-Lago.
As much as he and his followers would wish it were not so, Donald Trump is an ex-President. By law he gets Secret Service protection and money for office space and a staff, but his days of shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of the way so he could be in the front row of a photo-op are over.
In fact, I thought the most telling bit of footage was a court officer walking into the hallway outside the courtroom and letting the door close behind him, forcing Trump to push it open himself.
This story will stall in a couple of days as it becomes clear nothing much will happen until motions are filed. It will be replaced by something else equally tawdry like the Grand Jury sitting in Georgia voting to INDICT THE FORMER PRESIDENT over his “perfect” phone calls to state officials to find 11,780 votes so the election would be overturned.
As it was, at least in the court sketches, Donald J. Trump looked like a tired old man slumped in his chair, an indicted former President.
See you next week.