Trump dubiously claims ‘thousands’ were turned away from his trial amid sparse crowds of supporters

Donald Trump claimed dubiously on Tuesday that thousands of his supporters were being prevented by police and other security measures from turning out to support him as he undergoes his high-profile criminal hush money trial in New York City.

“Thousands of people were turned away from the Courthouse in Lower Manhattan by steel stanchions and police, literally blocks from the tiny side door from where I enter and leave,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Tuesday. “It is an armed camp to keep people away.”

He made similar comments that morning at the courthouse in Manhattan, claiming that “great Americans” seeking to show their support for him want to assemble outside the trial, but “for blocks you can’t get near this courthouse.”

Observers at the trial Tuesday morning noted that the main street along the courthouse is open to traffic and that only a small number of Trump supporters appeared to be present.

The Independent has contacted Mr Trump for comment and proof of his claims.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump stand outside Manhattan criminal court building, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York (AP)
Supporters of former President Donald Trump stand outside Manhattan criminal court building, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York (AP)

Though the trial of a former US president has indeed meant tight security around the courthouse, members of the public can assemble at a park across the street from the building. The courthouse itself remains open to public spectators and a large sidewalk in front of the courthouse is open to pedestrians.

News cameras in the courthouse hallway also broadcast regular comments from Mr Trump to the public.

Mr Trump, who has exaggerated the size of his crowds of supporters since his 2017 inauguration, may be seeking to push back against reporting which suggests he’s disappointed with the level of support he’s seen in the streets as he faces unprecedented criminal charges related to hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that Mr Trump was not happy with the turnout he saw so far as he rode into lower Manhattan each day in his chauffered SUV, hoping his trial would prove more of a media spectacle.

The former president pushed back against the report on social media, calling it “falsely reported.”

Those who’ve attended Mr Trump’s court dates so far report that crowds of supporters rarely number more than a dozen.

The situation inside the courthouse may be just as distressing to the former president.

On Tuesday. the second day of testimony in the trial, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker described what he called a “mutually beneficial” plan to bury stories claiming the then-presidential candidate had allegedly fathered an illegitimate child and had an affair with a former Playboy model, in a publishing arrangement referred to as “catch and kill.”