I took a few weeks off from discussing politics. One of the reasons was that I was waiting for the verdict in the civil case that E. Jean Carroll brought against Trump in United States District Court Southern District of New York. Last week, the jury arrived at a verdict. They did not believe Ms. Carroll regarding the rape allegations but believed her allegation that she was abused by Trump and defamed by him. The jury awarded her $5 million in damages.
I try to avoid commenting whether a jury made the right decision in a trial since I did not hear all the evidence. However, I would note that Donald Trump was a helpful witness for the plaintiff as it related to whether she was subject to the abuse. There was the famous Access Hollywood tape where Trump made comments about what things a man can do to woman and get away with it. When confronted with the tape by Ms. Carroll’s counsel during his deposition, instead of saying that it was locker-room talk not be taken seriously, Trump doubled down. He stood by the comments and said that for millions of years, stars (celebrities) have been doing it. Then when asked whether he was a star, he agreed that he was. It’s as if he’s saying, “a certain group of men can get away with abusing women and I fall within that group.” The jury concluded that Ms. Carroll was one of the women who was abused by men like him. Then there was his defense that he couldn’t have done anything to her because she was not his type. That blew up in his face when, being shown a picture which had his second wife Marla Maples with Ms. Carroll, he mistakenly identified Ms. Carroll as his wife. This would explain why Trump never went anywhere near the courtroom. It was not that the trial was a witch hunt. It was because he would have been a disaster as a witness.
You would figure that after losing a case and having a jury finding that he defamed Ms. Carrol and that he engaged in battery through abuse, Trump would get the message. I’m sure his lawyers told him to keep quiet about that case and the pending investigations. Instead, the next night, at the CNN Town Hall, Trump went through his greatest hits, including comments related to pending investigations concerning January 6, 2021, the 2020 presidential election, and the government documents found at Mar-a Lago. Some of the comments could be problematic for him, as they relate to the pending investigations. It increases the chances of his being charged and convicted of a crime. Likewise, he couldn’t help himself by again attacking Ms. Carroll using similar language that led to the jury’s verdict finding defamation.
Trump’s performance put a new spin on the famous joke: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? When he opens his mouth. The same can be said for Trump. According to the Lincoln Project, during the 61-minute Town Hall, Trump uttered 139 lies, more than two per minute. That takes talent.
Nevertheless, Trump and his minions were ecstatic as to his performance. The audience was clearly on his side.
The president was happy with the Town Hall because it reminded people why they didn’t like Trump in the first place and why it is important to make sure he is not elected president again in 2024. Guaranteed that many of Trump’s comments end up in campaign ads for Biden.
It was a mixed bag for CNN. They received much attention for the event. However, there was criticism for giving Trump the forum, especially this early in the race for president in 2024. It should not have come as a surprise. When Trump was running for president back in 2016, CNN treated him differently than the other Republican candidates even when it was not clear that he would win the nomination. I remember him being interviewed on the stage right after the debate while other candidates had to wait until much later to be interviewed.
Also, the Town Hall format was a disaster. For CNN to claim that the audience were undecided voters was a joke. It was packed with Trump loyalists. Their cheering and laughter are also a wakeup call that a sizable part of the country believes this is normal behavior.
The trial and Town Hall are two examples that show that the more Trump keeps on talking, the worse he makes it for himself politically and possibly legally. So, CNN should be thanked for giving Trump the forum. My advice to Trump is: Keep on talking.