- Part of President Donald Trump’s plan to get re-elected could, counterintuitively, involved a relentless focus on the investigations against him.
- According to Politico, citing Republican strategists, Trump will frame the probes as a conspiracy by an elite desperate to thwart his agenda.
- This, they would, would endear him to ordinary Americans by burnishing his image as an underdog.
- Trump’s presidency has been dogged by federal and state investigations into, among other things, his businesses, inaugural committee, and alleged affairs.
- It is far from clear whether the strategy would work.
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For most political candidates the scandal of being under active criminal investigations would be an insurmountable obstacle.
But Donald Trump – who currently faces multiple criminal and civil investigations into his administration and businesses – reportedly plans to flip what looks like his biggest weakness into a selling point.
According to Politico, citing Republican strategists, Trump hopes to talk about the investigations as much as possible, using them to portray himself as victim of a deep state plot by the political establishment, Democrats and the media.
Though overshadowed by the Mueller probe, the investigations by state and federal investigators into issues including alleged extramarital affairs and his business practices have the potential to further dent the already-scandal-stricken Trump administration.
Republican strategist and White House adviser Ron Bonjean told Politico: “He’s actually thriving off of these investigations because he’s turned it into a so-called witch hunt where he’s using these to his advantage to show that the establishment deep state, along with the media, is trying to derail his efforts to change the way things are done.”
“That plays to his benefit.”
While under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump kept up a steady stream of attacks, framing it as a biased political hit job.
Since the probe concluded Trump has stepped up attacks on the intelligence agencies which instigated the probe.
At ther same time he opened a new front attacking Democrats who have instigated congressional probes – separate from the civil and criminal investigations- into his administration, tax affair, and businesses.
He portrays himself in tweets and at rallies as fighting an establishment bent on destroying him, making little distinction between the various legal and political entities probing alleged wrongdoing.
“Despite the Greatest Presidential Harassment of all time by people that are very dishonest and want to destroy our Country, we are doing great in the Polls, even better than in 2016,” boasted the president Monday ahead of the Florida rally.
Observers, though, caution that the seriousness of the investigations should not be dismissed.
Berit Berger, a former federal prosecutor and the executive director of Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity told polling and analysis website FiveThirtyEight that they could prove damaging.
Berger said: “We don’t know what they will amount to yet, but these investigations shouldn’t be dismissed as frivolous – if federal prosecutors have opened an investigation, that means there are serious red flags.”