Donald Trump had a hectic August.
The Mugshot: The former president and 2024 GOP frontrunner again made history last week when he became the first former U.S. president to have his mugshot taken while he was arrested in Georgia on racketeering charges.
Soon after being released on bond, Trump began selling merchandise featuring his mugshot. According to Fox News (Right bias), 36,000 t-shirts featuring the mugshot have already been sold, bringing in more than $1.7 million. In total, the Trump campaign has reportedly raised $9.4 million since Trump's arrest in Fulton County, Georgia.
The Debate: For reference, multiple top Republican candidates who participated in the first GOP debate last week bragged about raising over $1 million following the debate. This disparity is evidence of Trump's enduring clout among Republican voters despite bucking the traditional norms of the Republican establishment by choosing to skip the debate.
But Trump's decision to skip the debate was not universally approved of by Republicans. A survey from Emerson College Polling found that Trump's approval rating dropped from 56% to 50% after he opted not to take the debate stage, with roughly a third of those polled stating that Trump skipping the debate made them less likely to vote for him.
The Trial: On Monday, a judge set the trial start date for the Department of Justice's case against Trump involving allegations of election fraud. The trial will kick off on March 4, one day before Super Tuesday, when 15 states are set to hold primary voting.
How the Media Covered It: Trump's mugshot was unavoidable in outlets across the spectrum this week.
Right-rated voices held a range of opinions on the Trump trial date. More establishment voices, such as the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board (Lean Right bias), felt the timing increased Trump's chances of winning the primary while lowering his chances of winning the general election. Others echoed Trump's opinion, believing the timing to be election interference.
Some left-rated voices are backing an argument that a clause in the 14th Amendment should disqualify Trump from running for office. Regarding the trial, some on the left are frustrated that some states will hold primary elections before voters have a chance to see the evidence presented in the DOJ's case against a candidate on the ballot.
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- Opinion from the Center: "It is more apparent than ever that [Trump's] imprint on the party will not fade, no matter how his own story concludes."
- Opinion from the Left: "Tying your sense of personal security to individual politicians' legal or political ambitions may give them loyal supporters, but it gives you nothing but fear."
Snippets from the Center
"It was his fourth arrest in five months in a criminal case, but this was his first police booking photo. Mr Trump later posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, for the first time since January 2021. He shared the address of his website and the mugshot with an all-capital letters caption: 'Election interference. Never surrender!'"
"While Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has consistently stood in second place in polls, albeit well behind Trump, it was Vivek Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old tech entrepreneur and political neophyte, who was at the center of many of the Fox News debate's most dramatic moments. Ramaswamy, a fierce Trump defender who is rising in national polls, faced plenty of incoming fire from his more experienced rivals, who appeared to view him as more of a threat than DeSantis."
Snippets from the Left
"The ex-president’s political method has always been to flood the zone with so much chaos that the nation is numbed by his behavior. In office, this gave him room to escalate his aberrations. As a criminal defendant, legal theatrics from him and his allies have tended to blur the significance of each development."
"The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is therefore ineligible to serve as president ever again. The most pressing constitutional question facing our country at this moment, then, is whether we will abide by this clear command of the Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification clause."
Snippets from the Right
"America should be discussing how best to salvage an education system that has tanked to unthinkable levels in the post-pandemic era... Or how to solve the border crisis, which now sees an average of 10,000 attempted illegal crossings per day. Instead, for the next 18 months, the nation will be force-fed updates on Trump’s "final battle" by overwrought CNN anchors pretending to be shocked — shocked! — by the indecency of it all."
"The March 4 choice means that at least some Republican voters from early and Super Tuesday states will probably see their ballots as a chance to protest what they view as unfair treatment of Mr. Trump. Voting for him will be their way of giving the establishment the middle finger. Mr. Trump might have the GOP nomination sewn up before a verdict arrives and voters learn whether he’s a convicted felon. This would certainly delight Democrats."