Trump’s Support Unfazed: Sexual Abuse Verdict Fails to Shake Republican Backing

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Well, I called it, didn’t I?

After a federal jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll, the airwaves and interwebs were abuzz with speculation as to how it would impact his presidential campaign.

The “Orange Man Bad” crowd salivated at the possibility that Trump might finally be closer to defeat. They seemed to believe that this would surely harm his chances of securing the GOP nomination or possibly contribute to a loss in the general election.

Unfortunately for them, the results of an Economist/YouGov survey reveal something very different.

According to the report, Republicans continue to show strong support for former President Donald Trump despite his recent legal troubles. Trump is the clear front-runner among Republicans for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination, with 58 percent preferring him over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who received 25 percent support and is viewed as the biggest threat to the former president.

This preference for Trump is especially pronounced among Republicans who prioritize a candidate’s chances of winning the general election, where he leads DeSantis by a significant margin of 44 points. Even among Republicans who prioritize issue alignment, Trump still maintains a lead of 25 points over DeSantis.

The report also revealed most Republicans (64 percent) disagree with the jury’s verdict, with only 20 percent in agreement. Only a tiny proportion of Republicans, eight percent, consider this verdict to be disqualifying for Trump’s presidential aspirations, while one-third of Americans overall, including a majority of Democrats, believe it should be disqualifying.

Even further, the most recent Real Clear Politics average shows Trump trouncing the competition. The data shows the former president with 56 percent support compared to 19.9 percent for DeSantis. To put it simply, that case didn’t mean a damn thing.

But anyone, including myself, could see this coming, as I said in a quick video shortly after the verdict:

There are a few reasons why the verdict did not have the impact many hoped it would have.

For starters, a crucial factor in understanding why Republicans maintain their support for Trump lies in the reality that they do not believe he is guilty of the accusations made by E. Jean Carroll. Despite the jury’s verdict, many Republicans likely hold doubts about the veracity of the claims, which can influence their perception of Trump’s innocence or guilt. Indeed, there are reasons why conservatives are leery about decades-old allegations of sexual impropriety levied against Republican candidates for office.

Remember Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh? When Trump nominated him for a seat on the highest court in the land, Democrats brought several women out of the woodwork, accusing him of having sexually abused them when he was in high school or college. The most prominent was Christine Blasey Ford, who spun a tale with more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese. The other accusers were later found to have fabricated their stories.

Naturally, this has bred distrust of sexual assault and impropriety allegations made against conservative public figures. In addition, the perception that such allegations can be weaponized for political gain can contribute to skepticism and a desire for a more nuanced assessment of the accusations against Trump.

Moreover, it is important to note that the standard of proof in a civil case, such as Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump, is lower than in a criminal case. In civil cases, the burden of proof is based on a preponderance of evidence rather than proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This distinction can shape Republicans’ interpretation of the verdict and contribute to their belief in Trump’s innocence. Perhaps some believe the former president could have acted inappropriately with Carroll without actually raping or sexually assaulting her. But the next point casts doubt on both possibilities.

A tweet from E. Jean Carroll in 2012 expressing her admiration for Trump’s television show, “The Apprentice,” has been brought to light. In a post on Facebook, she declared she was a “MASSIVE” fan of the show. Why would she fangirl over an individual who supposedly raped her?

The issue of sexual assault allegations is not limited to one party alone. Tara Reade, a former staffer for President Joe Biden when he was a senator, accused him of sexually assaulting her. Democrats have been criticized for downplaying these allegations. Indeed, the activist media gave little attention to the matter during the 2020 campaign. For some Republicans, this perceived partisan bias in addressing sexual assault accusations can impact their judgment and lead to a continuation of support for Trump despite the recent verdict.

Trump is expected to appeal the verdict. But either way, Democrats are going to have to use another form of lawfare against the former president if they want to have any hopes of defeating him.


Trending on RedState Videos