Trump’s Jan. 6 Revival & the DeSantis RINO Trap

Donald Trump may have end-run his putative ’24 opponent, Ron DeSantis, by portraying himself as MAGA’s first full-blown political prisoner.
Donald Trump may have end-run his putative ’24 opponent, Ron DeSantis, by portraying himself as MAGA’s first full-blown political prisoner. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
April 4, 2023

On the evening before his arraignment on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, Donald Trump took a break from raging at district attorney Alvin Bragg to lash out at Jack Smith, the special prosecutor appointed by the Justice Department to review his contributions to Jan. 6. Smith, Trump wrote on Truth Social, was a “Radical Left Lunatic” and “totally biased Thug” with a “Trump hating wife and family” who should investigate Joe Biden instead.

At a strategic level, Trump’s fixation on Smith might reflect the reality that the former president faces greater legal jeopardy from investigations by the D.O.J., into election meddling and mishandling classified materials, and by the Fulton County D.A., who is investigating Trump’s effort to “find” more votes in Georgia, than he does from Bragg’s tawdry, years-old, arguably dubious campaign-finance and hush-money case. But it also validates a creeping realization in some corners of the G.O.P. that Trump’s 2024 campaign, now anchored by his arrest and pending fights with federal prosecutors, has become a political jihad akin to the events of Jan. 6.