Former President Trump’s legal obligations are becoming increasingly intertwined with his political aspirations, with court dates threatening to split his time and attention in the heart of the 2024 presidential race.
Trump is set to go on trial in Washington and New York City next March, right in the middle of the GOP primary calendar. Opponents have been happy to seize on the conflicts as evidence Trump will be too distracted to take on President Biden. However, with Trump’s first trial scheduled for the day before Super Tuesday, there is also the question of whether the former president may have effectively clinched the Republican nomination by the time his court dates begin in earnest. Trump’s trial in Washington over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results and remain in power is scheduled for March 4.
Super Tuesday will take place March 5, when hundreds of delegates will be up for grabs in primaries in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia, as well as the American Samoa caucuses. Trump is scheduled to go on trial March 25 in Manhattan over an alleged hush money scheme to cover up an affair in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
Some of Trump’s Republican rivals have pointed to the former president’s looming court dates as a potential vulnerability. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said that Trump should think about getting out of the race since he will be spending most of March and half of April in a courtroom in Washington, D.C., not fighting the fight against Joe Biden like I’ll be doing every day. Skeptics argue that Trump’s court dates intersecting with the primary calendar will have much of an impact on the outcome. Alex Conant, a GOP strategist who worked on Sen.
Marco Rubio’s 2016 campaign called it an “unprecedented” situation, making it difficult to predict how the trials might affect Trump’s ability to campaign. Trump is not legally obligated to attend his own trial, and his campaign style is less reliant on flooding primary states with in-person events to drum up support.