Trump Wants to Be Handcuffed for the Stormy Daniels Hush Money
Ahead of a potential criminal indictment, the former president is planning out the spectacle of his arrest.
Donald Trump wants to be put in handcuffs.
The twice-impeached former president currently facing four criminal investigations told his advisers that, if he is indicted by the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into his role for paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, he wants to turn it all into a show.
As The Guardian reports, Trump seems more concerned with how to display strength and defiance amid the potential criminal charges than he is with the charges themselves. He has essentially told advisers that if he is going to be forced to surrender to authorities and have fingerprinting and a mug shot done at the courthouse, he may as well turn the whole process into a “spectacle.”
A perp walk of a visually unphased Trump, handcuffed and flanked by the police, all in front of flashing cameras and ardent protesters, is apparently Trump’s fantasy. Unfortunately for the daydreamer, reports indicate that authorities will likely work in tandem with the Secret Service to avoid such pandemonium.
Trump’s reinvigorated thirst for being the main character seems to be a bounce back from when he was on the way out of the White House. Per The New York Times, Trump was deep in the doldrums upon being impeached for the second time, after his supporters attacked the Capitol in a failed attempt to keep him in power. Trump reportedly had a “startling melancholy in his tone and hints of self-reflection as he sighed about his advanced age and expanding waistband,” reported the Times.
But since then, presumably buttressed by his formal entrance back into politics as the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination, Trump seems to be more and more back in his brash, delinquent groove. His eagerness to turn his potentially unprecedented arrest—which would make him the first former president to be criminally indicted—into a spectacle mirrors an augmented egomania displayed in, for example, his insistence that the Secret Service drive him around in a limo after he tested positive for Covid-19 so he could project strength to his supporters.
The spectacle didn’t work then (he lost the election weeks after that, and he and Melania’s cases were a few of many in the White House Covid outbreak), and it likely won’t work now. Because while Trump revels in the showbiz aspect of being criminally charged—and while this could solidify him as a martyr for at least enough primary voters to crowd out any other challenger—he is still mired in three other criminal investigations.
And one indictment alone would be enough to turn off more voters than the ones who chose not to vote for him in 2020.