Former president Donald Trump continues to enjoy a wide and loyal following among many Republicans – loyalty that is likely to carry him to becoming, for the second time around, the Republican presidential nominee next year.
In contrast, some of the people closest to the former president – who have been named co-defendants or asked to be witnesses in trials on Trump’s numerous lawsuits and indictments – have been quick to flip and cooperate with prosecutors.
Many witnesses and co-defendants believe that Trump is demanding too much loyalty from others, willing to hang them out to dry, all to his benefit.
That sense of entitlement is one reason why many have switched their legal defense strategies to one that looks out for their own self-preservation.
Rolling Stone reports that a former Trump administration official, speaking to the prosecution team of Special Counsel Jack Smith, said, “If I went to jail for Donald Trump, if I did that, what would that do for me and my family?” The former official, who was not named, said that Trump demands total and complete loyalty offering little to nothing in return.
“I don’t think he would even give us lifetime Mar-a-Lago memberships if I did that for him,” the official told federal prosecutors.
Donald Trump throws allies under the bus
In dealing with the many legal woes he is facing, Trump has shown no hesitation in feigning ignorance or worse, throwing people – most of them staunch allies – under the bus.
Take Sidney Powell, an ardent Trump supporter who believed the former chief executive’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him. Powell, a lawyer, began filing bogus lawsuits to support the claim, and made false claims against Dominion Voting Systems, the company where the election voting machines were sourced. Not only did her actions result in a sanction by a court in Michigan, but also a billion-dollar lawsuit from Dominion. She was also named as a co-defendant in Trump’s Georgia election tampering and racketeering indictment.
Not only did Trump leave her completely vulnerable, offering virtually no assistance to her at all, but also tried to blame Powell for the election tampering charges leveled against him. He has also claimed that Powell was never his attorney, despite tweeting in 2020 that she belonged to a “a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives” that included Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani.
But in what came as a surprise to many, Powell, as strong a supporter of Trump as there ever was, is now cooperating with prosecutors against the former president, pleading guilty to the charges against her by Georgia’s Fulton County.
The dominoes continue to fall for Trump
And another of that “truly great team” Trump was talking about in 2020, attorney Jenna Ellis, also recently flipped on her former boss, pleading guilty to racketeering charges. Scott Hall, a bail bondman also named in Georgia’s Fulton County indictment, also took a guilty plea recently. Both struck plea deals with prosecutors and will receive leniency in exchange for cooperating with the prosecution’s case against Trump.
Another key ally that has ostensibly turned on the former commander-in-chief was his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who is reportedly also working with prosecutors and providing massive amounts of information and evidence against Trump.
The former president has managed to retain his popularity, but has also become more and more isolated as time passes. His sense of entitlement and selfishness have apparently run their course among many of those who have directly interacted with him behind the glamour and populist charisma that defines his public façade.
If things continue as they are, Donald Trump will likely have no one else left around him outside his family and few close associates. He may very well win the Republican primaries, but lose his legal cases. And he will have no one to blame but himself.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.
From the Vault