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How Has Trump Changed the G.O.P.? His Criminal-Trial Guest List Tells the Tale.

How Has Trump Changed the G.O.P.? His Criminal-Trial Guest List Tells the Tale.


The Republican Party has modified quite a bit since Donald J. Trump final spent this a lot time at Trump Tower.

Stuck in New York City 4 days per week throughout his legal trial, Mr. Trump is now again in the identical 66th-floor penthouse suite the place he weathered so many scandals throughout his 2016 presidential run.

Back then, Mr. Trump was the Republican nominee, however nonetheless very a lot a party outsider. After the “Access Hollywood” video broke in October 2016 and he was heard bragging about grabbing girls’s genitals, he spent the weekend in Trump Tower watching defections. Second-guessing of his candidacy got here from throughout the G.O.P. spectrum, together with a canceled occasion and a public rebuke from the person he had chosen to be his vp.

What a distinction seven and a half years makes.

On Monday, a contender to be Mr. Trump’s subsequent vp, Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, traveled to New York to make a present of solidarity together with his party’s presumptive nominee. Mr. Vance started his day at Trump Tower after which went contained in the courthouse on the identical day that a number of the “Access Hollywood” episode was recounted and a secret recording performed during which Mr. Trump mentioned payoffs to bury dangerous tales.

Mr. Vance was joined by Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, together with Alabama’s legal professional basic, Iowa’s legal professional basic and a Republican congresswoman from Staten Island.

On Tuesday, because the prosecution’s key witness, Michael D. Cohen, was anticipated to be cross-examined, the speaker of the House was using to the courthouse in Mr. Trump’s motorcade, together with two different politicians whose names have been within the vice-presidential sweepstakes, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Representative Byron Donalds of Florida, plus Vivek Ramaswamy, who unsuccessfully ran within the 2024 main as a pro-Trump various.

“We have quite a lot of nice individuals right here to speak to you,” Mr. Trump mentioned on Tuesday, earlier than getting into a courtroom he mentioned he had nicknamed “the icebox.”

The heat embrace was an indication of simply how far Mr. Trump’s authorized troubles are from making him a party pariah. Instead, the trial over hush-money funds to the porn star Stormy Daniels is a staging floor for aspiring politicians to show their fealty, the newest litmus take a look at in a party more and more outlined by loyalty to Mr. Trump.

“What’s occurring inside that courtroom is a risk to American democracy,” Mr. Vance declared on Monday in a information convention exterior the courthouse in Lower Manhattan, attacking some individuals, together with the judge’s daughter, that Mr. Trump has been expressly barred from speaking about through gag order.

It was a theme that has emerged from Mr. Trump’s quite a few visitors: They have been making the trek to New York and amplifying the previous president’s speaking factors, ripping into these Mr. Trump is forbidden from talking about.

Other political allies who’ve come to courtroom embody David McIntosh, the pinnacle of the Club for Growth, who directed thousands and thousands of {dollars} in spending opposing Mr. Trump in 2023 however has since made efforts to get again into his good graces. And there was Senator Rick Scott of Florida and Ken Paxton, the legal professional basic of Texas.

Mr. Trump has at instances mentioned he needed to see a present of help within the streets exterior his trial, and a collection of aides, plus his son, Eric, have attended the trial itself. A Trump official mentioned that the marketing campaign had not invited the parade of politicians however that allies have been volunteering on their very own.

“They selected to point out up,” Mr. Trump mentioned as he left the courthouse on Monday. “They view this as a rip-off.”

Eight years in the past, there was a strong “Never Trump” push contained in the party to disclaim Mr. Trump the nomination. This yr, there was little to no critical dialogue contained in the G.O.P. of changing Mr. Trump atop the ticket, even within the case of a legal conviction earlier than the party’s summer season conference.

Mr. Trump has not modified since 2016. The party has.

In 2016, Paul D. Ryan was the speaker of the House. He was a pained, publicly reluctant supporter of Mr. Trump. Just final week, Mr. Ryan mentioned he wouldn’t vote for Mr. Trump this yr. “Character is simply too necessary to me,” he mentioned.

In 2024, Mike Johnson is the speaker of the House. He is a happy, publicly solicitous endorser of Mr. Trump. Just final week, Mr. Johnson held a information convention on Capitol Hill to amplify certainly one of Mr. Trump’s political obsessions: stopping undocumented immigrants from voting. One of Mr. Trump’s lightning-rod former advisers, Stephen Miller, was by his aspect.

Today, to the extent that Mr. Trump has Republican critics, they’re more and more former Republicans, providing their commentary as typically on CNN as within the corridors of Congress.

Mr. Trump has actually labored to purify the party. He has celebrated the defeat of anybody he views as a disloyal Republican, even those that misplaced their seats to Democrats.

“I’m undecided that I needs to be joyful or unhappy, however I really feel simply positive about it,” Mr. Trump mentioned the day after the 2018 midterms, ticking off the names of a number of Republicans who had simply misplaced as Democrats took management of the chamber.

“Mia Love gave me no love,” Mr. Trump mentioned of former Representative Mia Love of Utah, who had simply been defeated by a Democrat. “And she misplaced. Too unhealthy. Sorry about that, Mia.”

In the 2022 midterm elections, he got down to oust all 10 House Republicans who had voted to question him for his conduct forward of and in the course of the Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol. By the top of the election, solely two of the ten remained — and each, not by the way, had survived in states the place the highest two finishers superior to the overall election, not in a closed Republican main.

After seeing the courtroom on Monday, Mr. Vance, who received his 2022 Senate main after Mr. Trump endorsed him, mentioned in a submit on X that “I’m now satisfied the principle purpose of this trial is psychological torture” for Mr. Trump.

The former president, who may be seen carrying information clippings of feedback made concerning the trial as he leaves, appeared to understand the phrases of help from those that stood with him. But he had one other thought of how they might assist him.

“We have quite a lot of them that wish to come,” Mr. Trump mentioned on Monday. “I say simply keep again and cross numerous legal guidelines to cease issues like this.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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