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Trump Conviction Math & Aftermath

Donald Trump
Since Trump’s May 30 conviction, the ritual tut-tutting has become a whisper. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
June 6, 2024

As a former White House correspondent covering the Trump administration, I distinctly recall the predictable cycle of Republicans protesting or ducking from reporters, and then sheepishly defending each successive scandal: Charlottesville, the Comey defenestration and Mueller investigation, two impeachments, etcetera. Each time, the party split between the president’s MAGA allies, who insisted that Trump’s latest transgression would energize the base, and the cautious Washington hands—the ones who’d end up scurrying away from the administration after January 6—who privately insisted that this was certainly the last straw. But it never was.

Since Trump’s May 30 conviction, however, the ritual tut-tutting has become a whisper. Even the most self-serious, chin-stroking moderates—those that remain in Washington, anyway—are defending Trump. Susan Collins, who typically makes at least some gesture of disapproval each time a new Trump scandal surfaces, came out right away against the verdict. Lisa Murkowski acknowledged Trump’s “baggage” but mostly used the opportunity to attack Biden’s record. Larry Hogan, who called on Americans to “reaffirm” the rule of law, was swiftly excommunicated by the R.N.C. “Even privately, everyone is uniformly appalled by the New York case,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who is running for governor of North Dakota and doesn’t hold back from speaking about rifts in his party.