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Trump’s MAGA Allies Offer Their Most Deranged Defense Yet

Outside the Manhattan courthouse where the former president’s hush-money trial is coming to an end, loyalists claim that he’s just a regular guy.

Donald Trump looks imperious standing beneath a regal ceiling.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago compound in 2023

As Donald Trump’s New York City criminal trial comes to a close, the former president has been increasingly surrounded by loyalists and defenders who decry what they see as a grave miscarriage of justice: a witch hunt aimed at undercutting a wildly popular leader; a show trial out of Stalinist Russia.

On Tuesday, as his defense rested without Trump taking the stand, his political posse once more gathered outside the Manhattan courthouse. This time, however, their argument was slightly different: Trump isn’t just a victim—he’s a regular guy being beaten down and persecuted by a vast cabal of venomous elites.

“What happens to any of you if the courts in New York come after any of you because of something you said? Because you said something that the ruling class didn’t like?” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said Tuesday. “That’s what these other countries are all about. They shut down the ruling class. They want to be sure that anyone that speaks up against the ruling class disappears.”

“They want Donald Trump to disappear, they want to send him to jail, they want to take him off the main stage, because they know he’s their biggest danger to taking the ruling class—,” Patrick continued before being cut off by a reporter, who asked if he didn’t consider Trump to be a member of that ruling class.

“No!” the Texas politician squeaked, turning toward the reporter. “Donald Trump is not a member of the ruling class.”

As Patrick folded back into the sycophantic crowd, former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka attempted to further shut down the idea that Trump—who served as president from 2016 to 2020, claims a net worth in the billions, and is currently running to reclaim the highest position in the American government—is a member of the ruling class.

“Would a member of the ruling class be facing 730 years in prison? What a pathetic question,” Gorka mocked while clad in Trump’s signature courtroom combo of blue suit, white shirt, and extra-long red tie. “And he’s a member of the elite? That’s pathetic. You’re not a journalist.”

Last year, Trump and his namesake company were found guilty of vastly inflating the worth of their assets by at least $812 million. Trump’s actual net worth is unclear—and it has recently taken a sizable hit as a result of numerous multimillion-dollar damages—but he is undoubtedly a millionaire several times over and owns a number of lavish properties. He has recently seen a windfall thanks to his ownership of Truth Social, a media and technology company that lost more than $300 million in the first quarter of 2024 but is nevertheless worth billions thanks to an overinflated stock market valuation.

Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Russian TV Has a New Propaganda Star: Tucker Carlson

The former Fox News host has completed his evolution into a Kremlin stooge.

Ivan Apfel/Getty Images
Tucker Carlson’s show on YouTube and X is now regularly airing on Russia’s state-run channel Rossiya 24, though the show’s producer says they’re not involved.

“Any use of our content on that channel is without legal permission,” said Dean Thompson, the head of programming and production at the Tucker Carlson Network.

Carlson’s many conspiracy theories—from Lyme disease being a bioweapon against the poor to the rise of “wokeness” in the United States—have already aired in the country. And it’s not really a surprise why.

Carlson has long espoused pro-Russian views, downplaying the country’s conflict with Ukraine and minimizing Russia’s invasion as a mere “border dispute.” He even touted a conspiracy theory of a U.S.-led effort to supply Ukraine with chemical weapons.

Carlson has also made no secret of his love for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, traveling all the way to Moscow earlier this year for a widely panned softball interview. Despite Putin’s mockery of Carlson during and after the interview, Carlson still defended Putin’s killing of dissidents, words that eventually came back to hurt the conservative pundit when Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in Russian custody days later.

Putin and the Russian government evidently see value in Carlson to keep him on a national TV channel in a country where independent media outlets are highly restricted and subject to bans and being declared “foreign agents” or “undesirable organizations.”

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., even top Republicans like Senator Mitch McConnell have blasted Carlson, pointing to him as the reason why many Republicans were against aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia. Can Carlson make up for his diminished U.S. audience with a Russian one? Even if he does, it’ll be difficult to profit from it, considering the massive Western sanctions against Russia.

This story has been updated.

More on conservative media brain rot:

Key Trump Witness Confirms Damning Hush-Money Emails

One of the former president’s only witnesses just destroyed his entire defense. Whoops!

Donald Trump folds his hands while he sits in a Manhattan court room.
Justin Lane/EPA/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Donald Trump in court on Tuesday

A string of emails sent by attorney Robert Costello appears to have undercut the witness’s credibility just moments before Donald Trump’s first criminal trial concluded for the day.

Costello had previously represented Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and had allegedly offered a back-channel mode of communication between the former president and his former fixer (and current star defense witness) Michael Cohen in 2018.

But on Tuesday, the former federal prosecutor got caught up in a web of his own making and was forced to admit to moblike tactics that undercut the defense’s core argument.

In one message from 2018, Costello complained to his law partner Jeff Citron that Cohen was not cooperating, and that he believed instead that Cohen was “slow playing us and the president.”

“What should I say to this asshole?” Costello wrote. “He’s playing with the most powerful man on the planet.”

“This email speaks for itself?” asked prosecutor Susan Hoffinger.

“Yes, it does,” Costello told the court.

“You lost control of Michael Cohen?” Hoffinger continued.

“Absolutely not,” Costello replied.

In another 2018 message between Costello and Citron, the Giuliani attorney wrote that “our issue is to get Cohen on the right page without giving the appearance that we are following instructions from Giuliani or the President.”

“We must reverse the Avenatti effect and restore this to a far more simple investigation of things that while they might not look good politically and nevertheless legal,” the message continued, referring to Michael Avenatti, a since-disgraced attorney who represented Stormy Daniels, the former adult film actress that Trump is being accused of paying hush money to in 2016.

The emails clearly show the extraordinary lengths that Trump and his aides used to try to silence Cohen—and suggest that they were engaged in a cover-up.

Trump is accused of using Cohen to sweep an affair with Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Pathetic Trump Chickens Out of Testifying in Hush-Money Trial

Donald Trump won’t testify in his first criminal trial. What’s he so scared of?

Donald Trump in the courtroom holds a stack of papers and speaks, brows furrowed. His lawyer Todd Blanche stands beside him, also brows furrowed, staring at the camera.
Victor J. Blue/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s defense rested and concluded witness testimony in his hush-money trial Tuesday—and the former president pathetically chickened out of taking the stand.

“Yeah, I would testify, absolutely,” Trump told reporters in April before the trial began. “I’m testifying. I tell the truth, I mean, all I can do is tell the truth, and the truth is that there is no case.”

His lawyer Alina Habba again confirmed on Monday that he wants to take the stand—that he is “willing” and “able.”

But in the end, the beleaguered blowhard weaseled out of it.

Trump has wailed at length about a gag order issued by Judge Juan Merchan restricting his public statements, arguing incoherently that the gag order prohibits him from testifying—a statement that is flatly untrue, as the gag order applies to public statements from Trump targeting jurors and prosecution and does not apply to sworn testimony.

Perhaps Trump chickened out because his allies are familiar with his proclivity to ramble uncontrollably and knew he would likely put his foot in his mouth, as he’s already been doing.

In lieu of public statements, Trump has benefited from a rotating gaggle of copycat surrogates speaking on his behalf and admitting to helping him violate his gag order over and over again.

Merchan concluded Tuesday morning that closing arguments would resume the following Tuesday—leaving Trump a full week off from court to violate his gag order again.

Ted Cruz Gets Brutally Roasted After Posting About Texas Storm

The internet never forgets.

Ted cruz speaking
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Senator Ted Cruz posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) Monday afternoon touting all his help after a storm hit the Houston area on Thursday. Unfortunately for him, the internet never forgets, and in his case, he doesn’t have the best record on natural disasters.

In 2021, Cruz dashed off to vacation in Cancun while much of Texas was without electricity after a winter disaster, earning him scorn and mockery from his political colleagues as well as on social media. His post on Monday quickly brought in commentators eager to remind him of his actions.

Twitter screenshot
Twitter screenshot

Some brought up how he’s spent his time touting his podcast (which could get him in campaign finance trouble) and hawking his new book.

Twitter screenshot

The Lose Cruz PAC, which is raising money to oust the Texas senator, also got in on the act.

Twitter screenshot

Cruz is facing a tough reelection campaign against Representative Colin Allred, a former football player, and is looking to shore up any support he can. Cruz has a number of obstacles this time, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential candidacy pulling away votes and dangerously low fundraising numbers.

He should probably be doing things in Congress that would help his popularity, but in true Cruz fashion, he’s trying to make sure airlines don’t have to easily offer refunds and wants to give politicians extra security in airports so they that don’t get bothered if they leave their state in the middle of a disaster.

Peter Navarro Lays out Trump Second Term Agenda From the Jailhouse

The imprisoned former senior Trump aide pledges that his ex-boss would close the border almost immediately.

Peter Navarro looks concerned, which is reasonable (because he is about to go to prison).
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro in March, shortly before entering prison to serve a four-month sentence

An imprisoned former senior Trump White House aide is already envisioning Donald Trump’s second presidential term—and it includes “mass deportations.”

Peter Navarro is serving a four-month sentence in federal prison for refusing to respond to a congressional subpoena during the House Select Committee’s January 6 investigation. But time in the clink has helped Trump’s self-described “alter ego” iron out the finer details of Trump’s presidential politics—from international trade and alliances to border security, according to Semafor.

The New MAGA Deal documents 100 actions in 100 days,” Navarro said, referring to a new book he’s working on behind bars.

At the top of the agenda of unfinished business is a plan to bring private-sector supply chains and manufacturing “back to U.S. soil.”

“American multinational corporations naturally want to offshore American jobs in their search for cheap, sweatshop labor and pollution havens,” Navarro said. “That’s why God created tariffs.”

But tariffs and economic restrictions are only the beginning. Within those first 100 days, Navarro predicted that Trump will promise to close the border and force immigrant populations out of the country.

“Trump will also quickly seal the border and begin mass deportations,” Navarro told Semafor, blaming President Joe Biden for importing a “wave of crime and terrorism” and an “uneducated mass” to the nation.

And any former staff who even remotely opposed Trump’s plans during his first term can forget about being invited back to serve the GOP presidential nominee again, according to Navarro. That includes Trump’s former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who Navarro said did everything he could to “soften” Trump’s economic agenda. Instead, only those completely loyal to Trump’s vision will have a spot in the forthcoming term.

“Bad-Built Butch Body” Is Trademarked—and MTG Is Not Handling It Well

Well, actually it’s “bleach blonde bad-built butch body”—and Marjorie Taylor Greene is still pissed about it.

Majrorie Taylor Greene speaks with her mouth wide open, surrounded by other people
Allison Robbert/Bloomber

Representative Jasmine Crockett is doubling down on her viral jab against far-right Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene by beating the firebrand at her own game: Crockett filed a trademark on the phrase “bleach blonde bad-built butch body” and is producing a “Crockett Clapback Collection” featuring phrases the freshman lawmaker has said.

Crockett, a representative from Texas, posted a mockup of a shirt featuring the phrase “bleach blonde bad-built butch body,” which Crockett refers to as “B6” for its alliteration. On announcing the line of swag—which trademark filings note will include hats, hoodies, socks, and T-shirts—Crockett says proceeds “will go to ensuring that we have a Democratic House!”

The diss came during a House Oversight Committee meeting after Greene inexplicably insulted Crockett’s appearance while ranting about Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter. The committee meeting was reviewing a vote on whether to file articles of contempt against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for refusing to provide confidential recordings between Biden and special counsel Robert Hur. During Greene’s tirade, Representative Crockett asked her, “Do you know what we’re here for?” to which Greene responded, “I don’t think you know what you’re here for. I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading.”

In response to the trademark and merch launch by Crockett, Greene made the incredibly normal decision to publish a video of herself working out. “Yes my body is built and strong,” Greene wrote. “NOT with nips, tucks, plastic, or silicone, but through a healthy lifestyle.”

Leaning into white fragility, Greene appeared on Fox News to decry body shaming against herself while doubling down on body shaming others, griping to the outlet notorious for cookie-cutter bleach-blonde, Botoxed hosts, “I think no matter what shape, size, or how we look, we need to be ourselves, not telling women the only way to be attractive or accepted is to have fake boobs, fake hair, fake lashes, and injected faces.”

Trump Media Is Absolutely Tanking—as Trump’s Legal Bills Pile Up

Donald Trump’s media company reported a dizzying first-quarter loss. At this rate, it surely can’t last for much longer.

Donald Trump in the courtroom, looks to his side with his mouth gaping. Security guards are in the background, out of focus.
Steven Hirsch/New York Post/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s social media venture is taking a serious dive, according to its first earnings report.

Trump Media and Technology Group, which owns Truth Social, lost about $327.6 million last quarter ending March 31. These losses include $311 million in noncash expenses from the company’s merger with Digital World.

The company only brought in about $770,500 in revenue, down from $1.1 million the year before. The report had been delayed after the company fired its auditor, BF Borgers, who was charged with “massive fraud” by the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month. The company has had at least two other auditors in its short existence: one that resigned in July 2023 and another that was terminated in March to hire BF Borgers.

The company is currently trading at $48 per share, down from its peak of nearly $72 during its initial public offering in March. That’s a loss of more than half the company’s value. It had a bad run of news, even reaching out to the federal government to figure out why the stock has performed so poorly. Trump Media’s CEO, former Representative Devin Nunes, even complained to NASDAQ’s CEO that the company was the victim of illegal “naked short selling”—leading to his brutal mocking on Wall Street. Two of the company’s top investors were also charged with insider trading in April.

As a result of the company’s losses and his own financial difficulties, Trump himself has been kicked off the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the 500 richest people in the world. He also has to be careful about his usual bragging, as the SEC could see it as an attempt to pump up the company’s stock. And Trump can’t sell off any of that stock for six months without board approval, a difficult prospect considering his hefty legal bills.

Fascist Trump Winks at Nazis With “Unified Reich” Video

Donald Trump left this video up for way too long.

Trump stands in front of a red, black, and white background that reads "NRA" and "Trump." There is also a U.S. flag behind him.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A video published on Donald Trump’s Truth Social account Monday afternoon featuring hypothetical headlines included reference to a “unified Reich” alongside a much larger, bolded headline reading, “What’s Next for America?”

The Trump campaign claims the video was made by a “random account,” according to statements provided to NBC, and that it was republished to Trump’s Truth Social without his knowledge while he was in court for his hush-money trial. The video was left posted for hours and was only removed Tuesday morning.

Mock newspaper with half of Trump's face and the headline "What's next for America?"
Screenshot/Truth Social

Trump previously described neo-Nazis who marched in the fatal Unite the Right rally in 2017, carrying tiki torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us,” as “very fine people.” He has made comments echoing Hitler’s Mein Kampf as recently as last year, claiming immigrants are “poisoning the blood of this country.” His past administration and current allies are riddled with white nationalists. It comes as no surprise that a member of his campaign team would pull a DeSantis and “accidentally” publish a video on behalf of Trump infused with a positive reference to Nazi Germany.

The video, which presents as a campaign ad, asks, “What’s next for America? The economy booms. American energy is unleashed, and an end to crushing taxes. The border is closed, and the largest deportation in history is underway. No more wars, as we focus on home. Law and order is restored. The American Dream is back and the best is yet to come.”

Nazi Germany used the term “Reich” to suggest a historical return to previous empires. Following the Holocaust, Reich fell out of usage except in reference to Germany under Hitler. The “unified Reich” headline appears to be pulled from the Wikipedia page for World War I. Beyond that headline, the ad features copy discussing World War I and early twentieth-century war history dated between 1914 and 1918—at the height of Jim Crow, prior to women’s right to vote, and just before the Ku Klux Klan became a mass movement. “Make America great again,” the voiceover on the video declares as it ends, effectively confirming what critics have long said the phrase coined by Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign and repopularized by Trump really means: Make America great again for a select, ultraracist few.

Pro-Trump Moron Tries to Block Anti-Trump Film That He Funded

Dan Snyder, a billionaire former NFL owner, isn’t happy with “The Apprentice,” which premiered at Cannes on Monday.

Daniel Snyder crosses his arms as he stands on the sideline of an NFL game.
Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Dan Snyder in September 2023

Dan Snyder, the disgraced former owner of the Washington Commanders, is less than thrilled about the premiere of a movie critical of Donald Trump at the Cannes Film Festival—even though he helped fund it.

The Apprentice covers Trump’s early years in the real estate industry—and focuses on the former president’s relationship with notorious political fixer Roy Cohn and Trump’s relationship with his first wife, Ivana—and premiered on Monday at Cannes to a rapturous eight-minute standing ovation. Little more was known about the film, which stars Sebastian Stan as Trump and Succession’s Jeremy Strong as Cohn, before its premiere—aside from the fact that Snyder hated it and wanted it shelved.

Snyder, a longtime Trump ally who has donated more than $1.2 million to his previous campaigns, has been embroiled in a legal battle with the film’s producers since he saw an early cut of it in February. The viewing left Snyder “furious” with the creative direction of the film, and he reportedly took issue with several parts of the story, leveraging his position as an investor with the film’s distribution company, Kinematics, to argue for changes to the script, according to Variety. (That could potentially refer to one scene in which Trump is depicted sexually assaulting Ivana, as described in the couple’s 1989 divorce deposition. Ivana Trump later distanced herself from the allegation.) When his suggestions didn’t stick, Snyder turned to cease-and-desist letters in a last-ditch effort to shut the film down. But still, it persists.

“All creative and business decisions involving The Apprentice have always been and continue to be solely made by Kinematics,” Kinematics president Emanuel Nuñez told Variety.

It’s unclear if Snyder was in attendance at Monday’s screening, though his yacht, the Lady S, was reported to be off the coast of Cannes Monday afternoon. After the screening ended, the movie’s director, Ali Abassi, gave a speech denouncing the rise of fascism.

Prior to the Trump film fiasco, Snyder was best known as a much-despised former co-owner in the NFL. Before selling the Washington Commanders, Snyder was investigated for alleged workplace harassment and sexual misconduct, was sued by the D.C. attorney general for allegedly colluding to mislead customers, was accused by the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform of lying under oath during a hearing regarding sexual assault allegations against his team, and famously screwed up a venture to get the Commanders a new stadium before a lineup of former female employees spoke out against him in front of Congress.