The former United States president has sneered at the accusations against him, including ones that have led to indictment. It is becoming clear that recent events will serve only to strengthen Donald Trump’s position during the primaries when the Republican Party chooses its presidential candidate.
What happens in the United States never ceases to amaze us. A former president has been indicted, arrested and given inmate number PO1135809 after turning himself in on charges and a fleeting encounter with the U.S. prison system. As such, Donald Trump has become the first U.S. official or former president to fall into this category. The charges against him are incredibly serious: violation of state racketeering charges usually brought against organized crime, pressuring public servants to ignore their duty and conspiracy to falsify documents.
This is not the only legal case that has brought Trump before a court. There are also cases charging him with sexual assault; the alleged attempt to buy the silence of an adult film star; the accusation that he hid classified documents at his private Mar-a-Lago residence, and charges related to events to led to the storming of the Capitol by his followers after he lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
The former president has sneered at the accusations against him, including charges that have led to the indictments. It is becoming clear that recent events will serve only to strengthen Trump’s position during the presidential primaries leading up to when the Republican Party will nominate a candidate for president.
This raises questions. To what extent has Trump been able to ensnare the Republican Party and why? In truth, it is difficult to understand. Any political organization with firm principles must deal with the consequences if one of its members is accused of crimes of such magnitude, much less indicted for them. This has to be the case even more if that person has already brought electoral disaster to the party by failing to get reelected, undoubtedly influenced by the style, given his statements and behavior, with which Trump led the country during his first term.
This Republican Party is the same party of President Richard Nixon, the president who faced the Watergate scandal during his reelection bid and which ultimately cost him a second term. The Republican political organization understood the gravity of the situation at the time and held that Nixon had to take responsibility. This raises another legitimate question: To what extent have the principles that inform the conduct of the Republican Party deteriorated?
Edgardo Riveros is an academic at the Central University of Chile and former Chilean deputy minister of foreign affairs.