According to some political strategists, the recent surge in media attention surrounding the arrest of former President Donald Trump could potentially work to his advantage.
Terry Sullivan, who managed Marco Rubio’s 2016 campaign, remarked to Politico, “It’s like we’re experiencing déjà vu. Trump is once again dominating media coverage, leaving no room for his competitors to gain any exposure or momentum.”
Last week, Trump was indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records in relation to the payments he made to Stormy Daniels and former model Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump has portrayed the charges brought forth by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office as politically motivated, and has made it the main focus of his 2024 presidential campaign.
On Monday morning, David Kochel, a veteran of six Republican presidential campaigns, expressed his frustration with the media’s coverage of Donald Trump’s recent arrest, telling Politico, “What’s frustrating to me is we didn’t learn a damn thing from 2015 and 2016 when it comes to just giving him absolute, roadblock media coverage.
I get it, it’s a big story. But this was getting covered like… the opening of the war in Iraq or the O.J. chase. You couldn’t escape it.”
Kochel believes that none of Trump’s GOP rivals can take any action against him at this point after the charges. “I don’t know that there’s a strategy anybody could employ,” he stated. He went on to make a reference to a joke Trump made during the 2016 campaign, saying, “Maybe try shooting somebody on Fifth Avenue.”
Corporate broadcasters such as CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox provided live coverage of Trump’s journey to New York City, his arrival at Trump Tower, and his entrance into the Manhattan courthouse to face the indictment. Journalists and camera crews crowded around the court to capture the moment of Trump’s arrival and departure.
According to left-leaning Atlantic magazine writer Adam Serwer, the media’s coverage of Donald Trump’s recent arrest suggests that they have not learned from their mistakes in 2016.
While acknowledging the significance of a former president being arraigned on criminal charges, Serwer criticized the “minute-by-minute broadcasting” of Trump’s arrival in New York and the blanket coverage of his Mar-a-Lago speech, which he believes allows Trump to monopolize media attention.
Some Republican candidates have defended Trump against the charges, while others have noted that any candidate who goes after Trump will face his wrath. Recent polls show Trump leading over potential contenders such as Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley by significant margins.
On his Truth Social platform, Trump criticized DeSantis and advised him to stay out of the 2024 presidential race. Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who has been criticized by Trump, believes that the charges against Trump will elevate him in the Republican primary and turn it into a circus.
Despite some commentators suggesting that the arrest could damage Trump’s political brand, Michigan-based Republican strategist Jason Roe believes that no one can currently compete with Trump in terms of media attention, and the dust needs to settle before the situation becomes clearer.