Trump’s GOP ‘Surrogates’ Take Turns Bashing Judge’s Daughter

Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to his criminal hush-money trial as a “witch hunt” and a “show trial,” and if the former president wanted to make a spectacle of the court’s proceeding, he now has quite the supporting cast.

In the last several days of courtroom drama, Trump has been accompanied by an entourage of prominent Republican lawmakers eager to be seen offering their public support to the indicted former president. Not only is their presence an act of theatrical solidarity, they have been acting as mouthpieces for Trump, who remains bound by a gag order barring him from attacking witnesses, jurors, court staff, prosecutors, and the families of those involved in the case.

On Tuesday, Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, addressed reporters gathered outside of court and repeated attacks against witnesses and the daughter of Judge Juan Merchan, who has led a Democratic consulting firm, that have previously landed Trump in hot water.

“Among the atrocities here, the judge’s own daughter is making millions of dollars doing online fundraising for Democrats,” Johnson said.

Johnson was not the only one of Trump’s guests to target Merchan’s daughter.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), another member of the ring-kissing delegation on Tuesday, called the trial a “joke and a farce,” and accused Merchan’s daughter of “making money” off of the case. Fellow Florida Rep. Cory Mills stood alongside Donalds, and later appeared on Fox News from outside of the court to tell the outlet that “people like the judge’s daughter” are fundraising off of the trial on behalf of the Democratic Party.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) echoed Trump’s pre-gag order attacks against Merchan’s daughter a day earlier. “The judge inside, his daughter is making millions of dollars running against Donald Trump, raising money for Trump’s political opponents,” Vance said.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who showed up at the trial last week, also attacked Merchan’s daughter on Monday, claiming “the judge’s daughter is a political operative and raises money for Democrats.”

The trial is a perfect opportunity for Republicans desperate for Trump’s approval to score some points with the de-facto party leader. It was also an opportunity for the House Speaker to raise some money. “President Donald Trump is on trial for one reason and one reason only: to interfere with our election. Democrats are weaponizing the justice system to defeat,” Johnson wrote in an email to potential donors. The communique included a photo of Trump and Johnson clad in virtually identical suits and ties.

As reported by Rolling Stone, in the early days of the trial, the former president was infuriated by the lack of visible support from his allies at the courthouse. “Where are they?” he complained earlier this month, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Another source noted that Trump had privately grumbled that Republicans he’d endorsed were failing to pay proper homage.

The response has been swift, although several of the Republicans who showed up claim they are there voluntarily and were not asked to attend by Trump. The former president is well aware of their role, though, noting to reporters on Tuesday that he has “a lot of surrogates and they are speaking very beautifully.”

“They come from all over Washington, and they’re highly respected and they think this is the biggest scam they’ve ever seen,” he added.

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