Sprung briefly from New York trial, Trump to hold campaign events

Sprung briefly from New York trial, Trump to hold campaign events
Sprung briefly from New York trial, Trump to hold campaign events

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - After long days spent in a chilly New York courtroom, Donald Trump will finally — briefly — escape his hush money trial to hold two major campaign rallies today. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, May 1 — After long days spent in a chilly New York courtroom, Donald Trump will finally — briefly — escape his hush money trial to hold two major campaign rallies today.

The former Republican president, who is again running for the White House, will head to Wisconsin, one of the most hotly contested states in his expected rematch with Democrat Joe Biden in November.

After a rally in the city of Waukesha at 2.00pm local time (2.00am Malaysian time tomorrow), he will hold another event at 6.00pm (6.00am Malaysian time tomorrow) on the airport tarmac in a small Michigan town.

Trump will use the events “to contrast the peace, prosperity, and security of his first term with Joe Biden’s failed presidency,” according to a statement from his campaign.

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But the 77-year-old real estate tycoon will also use the short break in the proceedings to get a breath of fresh air — far from the Manhattan courtroom where he is accused of covering up payments to a porn star before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump is the first former US president to face criminal charges, and the trial appears to have annoyed him no end.

For two weeks now he has been sitting through long hours of witness testimony, visibly bored and angry at no-nonsense Judge Juan Merchan, who required him to be present — and then imposed a gag order prohibiting him from publicly attacking witnesses, jurors or court staff.

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Before and after the day’s proceedings, Trump has been addressing journalists outside, venting about his legal problems, the US economy, his wife’s birthday and the “freezing” temperature inside the courtroom.

And his once tight-knit team is showing cracks: only his son Eric has so far come to support Trump in person in court. During a break on Tuesday, Trump let out a deep sigh.

“He hates being there in court, where he is just another criminal defendant,” political scientist Larry Sabato told AFP. “He has no control and is not in charge.”

Biden’s campaign has not missed a chance to bait his opponent over his legal troubles.

Earlier this month, the president took a jab at Trump for being “busy right now” in court. And Biden’s campaign has been referring to Trump as “Sleepy Don”, after reports from journalists in the courtroom that the Republican was nodding off during the proceedings.

The nickname evoked “Sleepy Joe” taunt that Trump has long used for Biden.

Biden has advanced in the polls since March, with the two candidates now running neck and neck.

But Trump and his supporters hope to harness the media attention surrounding the trial to fire up his base.

It is with this in mind that he will travel to Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday.

Trump is energised by his campaign rallies, but has not held a single one since the start of his trial on April 15, with the only event planned cancelled due to the weather. — AFP

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