The verdict in the E. Jean Carroll trial may “only” be about civil damages. But it dispels the popular notion that Donald Trump can delay his trials for as long as he likes, or that a right winger on the jury will save him. This verdict takes a lot of the silly narratives that are out there about Trump’s invincibility and shatters them.
I suspect this verdict will deliver a wake up call to those Republican Party politicians who got caught up in the hype about Trump’s supposed invincibility. They’re not going to admit it publicly, of course. They’ll keep publicly siding with him, for now.
But it probably just hit a lot of House and Senate Republicans that Donald Trump’s three upcoming criminal trials are very likely to go the same way this civil trial went. Trump won’t be able to magically delay his trials past the election, he’ll mount a crappy defense at trial, his two-bit antics won’t help him any, and the jury will throw the book at him. And because these are criminal cases, the verdict will put him in prison instead of the 2024 election.
So even as the House and Senate Republicans who benefit politically by publicly siding with Trump will continue to do so, look for some of them to start quietly reevaluating things behind the scenes. It’s now hitting them that if Trump is still a participant by the time the 2024 Republican primary season gets serious, it’ll make for such a mess, Trump’s downfall will likely cost a number of House and Senate Republicans reelection.
Keep an eye out for a shift in how Republican politicians deal with Trump going forward – not with their words, but with their actions. Many of them have been looking for a back door to shove Trump out of for awhile, but have been too afraid of him, and didn’t see enough upside in taking the risk of alienating him. But this verdict just reminded them that Trump is going to prison anyway. How much longer do the Republicans want to allow him to muddy their 2024 prospects before he’s dragged off to the big house? Many House and Senate Republicans presumably have dirt on Trump. Don’t be surprised if some of them start leaking it now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report