Trump Team Says Only ‘Thirsty’ ‘Cockroaches’ Would Claim He’s Sad About Getting Arrested
Donald Trump wants everyone to know that he was not at all saddened about getting arrested and having to plead not guilty to 34 felony charges stemming from an alleged sexual encounter with a porn star. “I can say that at least for this moment right now, I am in great spirits,” Trump wrote in an email blasted out to supporters after his historic arraignment in Manhattan on Tuesday. But behind the scenes of that crafted public image, cracks have begun to show in the former president’s famous self-confidence, according to those who know him well.
Despite the bravado, one person close to Trump was struck by how “shitty and pissed off” he has sounded in private the past few days when discussing the charges. Two other sources who currently work for Trump note to Rolling Stone, one completely unprompted, how “unhappy” or obviously “deflated” the former president looked in the video and photos of his Tuesday court appearance.
In the hours following his courthouse appearance and his return to Mar-a-Lago, Trump took the time to self-soothe after a long day by watching and replaying clips from conservative media showing prominent commentators passionately sticking up for their embattled leader of the Republican Party, a person with knowledge of this says. This included a segment from Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson claiming that the indictment is “the boldest election interference ever attempted in this country’s history.” Trump also relished a clip of right-wing radio host Mark Levin — a Trump favorite — ranting on Sean Hannity’s show that Trump is a “historic figure” and that “We, the American people, need to stand behind this guy. There’s not another Republican that I can think of who can fight back and fight back this way…At this time, at this moment…[Trump’s] the guy, and they know it!”
Trump’s team is taking pains to make sure none of that brooding reaches his supporters. According to two sources with knowledge of the matter, Trump has cared so much about curating this perception of being unshaken that he himself in recent days encouraged allies to tell the press and public that his mood was “great,” and he was stronger than ever.
And in a sign of just how much the former president wishes to convince the public that he wasn’t feeling down about getting criminally charged, in the earliest hours of Wednesday morning, Trump’s spokesperson Steven Cheung sent Rolling Stone a statement fervently disputing the characterizations of the ex-president’s mood. “These unnamed sources who speak about President Trump’s mood have no idea what they’re talking about and are simply lying to make it seem like they know what’s going on,” Cheung says. “In fact, they are on the outside looking in, and it’s desperate, sad, and thirsty beyond belief. They are cowards and should stop acting like cockroaches scurrying around in the dark.”
The push-and-pull over the public’s perception of Trump’s mood comes after a history-making Tuesday. Trump spent the day in court in Manhattan, arraigned on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records stemming from a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels over what she alleges was an extramarital sexual encounter.
Trump had hoped, Rolling Stone reported Monday, to turn the booking into a high-profile display of public persecution, sending a message to his supporters and galvanizing his campaign. Instead, he got a more muted proceeding, with few statements to the public. By evening, he was back to running for president, delivering a short — by his standards — address to supporters at Mar-a-Lago. In a rambling speech filled with grievances, a hoarse and tired-looking Trump fumed at what he claimed were “racist” and “radical-left lunatic bomb-thrower” prosecutors pursuing him in New York, Georgia, and the special counsel’s office.
Pastor Mark Burns, who used to counsel Trump as a faith adviser, attended Trump’s Mar-a-Lago speech and says he briefly spoke to the ex-president at the Florida club Tuesday. Burns says he went there to offer Trump a message of comfort and redemption, “That God has chosen President Trump to lead our country for such a time as this…He has already repented of his sins, so God has already forgiven him, which means any past sins is covered under the Blood of Jesus.”
Trump’s outrage was not solely performative, as he was also expressing his fury and dismay in private communications. Alan Dershowitz, the celebrity lawyer who served on Trump’s legal defense for his first impeachment, tells Rolling Stone that he received a morning text message from Trump himself on Monday.
“Alan, getting ready to leave for New York and can’t really believe it. These maniacs want to destroy our country. So SAD. Nothing on Hunter or Biden, and their crimes are so bad. Anyway, your words are so important,” Trump texted the lawyer, according to Dershowitz. “Save America!” Trump texted, before signing the message “DJT” and adding, “P.S. congrats on the book.”
Victoria Bekiempis contributed to this report.