Trump’s campaign and his legal strategy

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Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and his courtroom strategy are now one and the same.

On Monday night, Trump won the Iowa caucuses by roughly 30 points. The next day, he took an unusual victory lap, striding into a courtroom in Manhattan for a defamation case brought against him by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who says Trump raped her in the 1990s.

Throughout the week, the former president moved back and forth between the courthouse and the campaign trail.

He held a rally in New Hampshire then rushed to New York again for more proceedings in the case filed by Carroll. She had previously won a finding from a civil jury that said Trump was liable for having sexually abused her and for defamation when he called her story a lie.

This split-screen toggle was emblematic of how Trump intends to handle the year ahead, when he will be running for president while defending himself against multiple civil and criminal actions. On display was Trump’s desire to test how far he can push the system.

Trump is not required to be in the courtroom for the defamation trial, and his choice to be there was his alone. He has said he wants “to attend all my trials,” and when he showed up in court again yesterday, it was as Carroll took the stand to describe how he had destroyed her reputation and made her a target of his followers. But within a matter of minutes, Trump had disrupted Carroll’s testimony and risked getting himself thrown out of the courtroom.

It has become a regular tactic for him in the Carroll case and another civil proceeding in New York related to his business practices: He makes a spectacle of himself, distracts attention from the damaging or embarrassing proceedings taking place around him and casts himself as the victim.

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Trump’s campaign and his legal strategy

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