No Quitting the Presidential Race for Donald Trump: We know Donald Trump is defiant. No crisis or threat can stop the guy. He is able to compartmentalize the worst legal maladies against him. Just look at the two impeachments and his recent indictment and arraignment. Say what you will about him, but Donald Trump barely let those obstacles bother him.
His latest claims should not be surprising based on this combative history. Trump said on April 11 in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that not even a criminal conviction would get him to quit his race for the White House.
Donald Trump: What, Me Worry?
“I’d never drop out, it’s not my thing,” Trump told Carlson. “I wouldn’t do it.”
Trump is facing trial for 34 felony counts regarding a hush money payment to adult video star Stormy Daniels. The former president allegedly falsified business records which led to a more serious crime.
Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty and accused the prosecutor of being a criminal and the judge of hating him. Donald Trump previously said he would keep running if indicted, but this is the first time he has been asked about the potential of being found guilty and how that would affect his presidential quest.
People Have Run for President from Jail
Donald Trump as a presidential candidate is in uncharted territory. The Constitution makes no mention of a candidate for president being accused or convicted of a crime. The socialist Eugene Debs, who was a presidential candidate in 1920, was in prison during his candidacy. Debs had been found guilty of crimes related to his protest of World War One and violation of the Espionage Act of 1917. Debs won three percent of the vote that year.
Perennial gadfly and extremist candidate Lyndon LaRouche ran for president in 1992 from prison after he was convicted of tax and mail fraud in 1988.
Donald Trump: He Could Be Barred from Voting
Donald Trump would not be able to vote in Florida if he became a convicted felon as those with felonies are not allowed to vote in that state, unless they serve out their sentences and pay all fines. But beyond that, he would be able to campaign, and more voters, especially Republicans, could rally to his cause.
The hush money case is liable to play out for several months as Trump’s legal team is expected to file numerous motions during due process. Donald Trump could potentially be elected to the White House before he goes to criminal trial. Then there probably would be numerous appeals should he be found guilty.
Trump is also being investigated for his actions leading up to the January 6 insurrection and mishandling of classified records. A special grand jury has also met that examined his role in allegedly attempting to overturn the presidential election of 2020 in Georgia. A criminal grand jury may be convened in that case. So, Donald Trump could conceivably be indicted in three other situations. He is innocent until proven guilty of course, but it would be difficult for him to win a general election should he face that many charges.
“They don’t want to run against me,” Trump said, as he referred to the charges as attempts to weaponize the courts and prosecutors as means to defeat him when Democrats cannot beat him at the ballot box.
Classified Document Case Could Lead to Charges
At this point, the potential charges regarding the Top Secret papers found in Trump’s possession at his Florida home in Mar-a-Lago appear to be the ripest for indictment. Special counsel Jack Smith has interviewed numerous witnesses and examined electronic communications that could show Trump obstructed justice by defying a subpoena that required him to deliver the classified documents back to the National Archives.
Trump would argue that President Joe Biden did the same thing and that Trump had previously declassified the documents and cooperated with authorities to return them.
Trump does not seem to be too concerned about the hush money indictments, but that could change if he is charged with other crimes. He will continue to be defiant and castigate the justice system as carrying out a witch hunt against him. Those that wish him to drop out of the race may be disappointed.
Author Expertise and Experience
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.