A Supreme Court victory and a Democrat meltdown — yet Trump is still complaining

Republican presidential candidate, has had  a huge turn of fortunes (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, has had a huge turn of fortunes (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Former president Donald Trump got almost everything he could have wanted in the past week and a half.

Not only did President Joe Biden’s performance at the debate on Thursday evening in Atlanta send the Democratic Party into a collective panic — with some even speculating that the party would need to replace the president — but Trump has received legal rulings that have benefited him and his political movement.

Nevertheless, because he is who he is, he can’t help but continue to air his grievances.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that presidents have some immunity from criminal prosecution. That decision will all but guarantee a delay in Trump’s criminal case on charges that he plotted to overturn the 2020 election results. It’s just what his team wanted: there’s now unlikely to be a decision until after the 2024 presidential election, when it can’t affect what happens in November.

The case will be kicked back to the lower court and Judge Tanya Chutkan will hold hearings to determine whether the allegations against him constitute “official” acts he performed as president or “unofficial acts”. This includes every action taken, ranging from Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he infamously asked Raffensperger to “find” additional votes, to his attempt to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence.

This comes a few days after the court ruled that an “obstruction of an official proceeding” charge brought against Joseph Fischer, a former police officer who rioted at the US Capitol, had been used too broadly. While the case will likely not have much of an effect on Trump’s case, it does allow him to say that an overzealous Justice Department unduly persecuted his most faithful supporters.

Of course, these legal rulings could not have happened, had it not been for Trump’s nominations of three Supreme Court Justices. Even though Justice Amy Coney Barrett sided with liberals Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, Trump’s 2016 election meant that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the majority, could hand such rulings down instead of the more liberal judges that Hillary Clinton would have nominated.

The fact that Trump’s ability to run for president hinges directly on the timing of trials that could determine whether he can become a free man has not caused any soul-searching on behalf of the Republican Party. Nor has his criminal conviction on 34 charges in New York, or his being held liable for the sexual assault of E Jean Carroll.

Rather, he continues to hold sway within the GOP. Only a handful of Republican Senators have declined to endorse him — and his own endorsement has the power to prop up endangered incumbents and dethrone rock-ribbed conservatives for even perceived slights. Trump’s dominance within the Republican Party remains whole.

At the same time, he cannot help but continue to dip his foot into the pool of conspiracy theories his supporters have drawn and plot his latest idea for revenge.

On Sunday, he went on a reposting spree on Truth Social, his preferred medium these days. During that spree, he notably reposted an image of himself and First Lady Melania Trump (who was conspicuously absent from the debate) with the phrase “Where We Go One, We Go All,” a slogan commonly used in QAnon-believing circles.

Another repost called for Biden to be arrested for treason. A third called for members of the January 6 select committee, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mike Pence and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to be arrested. This comes despite the fact that McConnell and Trump supposedly patched things up when Trump made his trek to Capitol Hill last month.

Trump saved most of his ire for Liz Cheney, a former congresswoman with no political power who he already deposed in 2022. He reposted an image calling for her to face a military tribunal.

There is some deep irony here. Trump has complained that he is being politically persecuted by his opponents, despite the fact that Biden has nothing to do with his criminal conviction in New York. Indeed, Attorney General Merrick Garland nominated Special Counsel Jack Smith to given an image of impartiality.

But Trump openly posts and reposts about legal retribution for his opponents, often saying they committed treason, a crime for which the punishment is death.

The fact that Trump can do so without anyone in his party wincing shows his wholesale control of the party he now represents. And it shows an utmost confidence that nothing he can do will deter voters. While such a strategy may well lead to Trump winning in November, it will not always have positive results for Republicans; the moment he sees them as seditious, he will sic his acolytes on them as well.