Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz become latest MAGA faithfuls to show up for Trump

MAGA firebrands Ms Boebert and Mr Gaetz showed up in support of the former president, days after House Speaker Mike Johnson put in an appearance

Ariana Baio
Thursday 16 May 2024 16:03
Related video: Trump says his ‘surrogates’ are ‘speaking beautifully’ in his hush money trial

MAGA lawmakers Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz have become the latest Donald Trump loyalists to show up in support of the former president at his criminal hush money trial in New York.

Colorado Rep Ms Boebert and Florida Rep Mr Gaetz rocked up to Manhattan criminal court on Thursday morning, where Mr Trump is on trial charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records over a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Shortly before the day’s court proceedings began, Ms Boebert took to X to ponder whether she would “run into Judge Merchan’s daughter”.

“She’s probably too busy being paid millions and millions of dollars by Democrat campaigns all across the country and won’t be able to make it,” Ms Boebert wrote – a reference to Mr Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to have the judge recused from the case by claiming his daughter, who worked for Democratic campaigns, created a conflict of interest. 

Mr Gaetz, meanwhile, resorted to echoing Mr Trump’s infamous – and widely-condemned – call to far-right extremists the Proud Boys in the run-up to the 2020 election.

“Standing back and standing by, Mr. President,” he posted on X.

Inside the courtroom, the two members of Congress sat in the first row behind the defense table. Mr Gaetz sat next to Mr Trump’s son, Eric Trump, occasionally chatting to him.

Matt Gaetz, the Republican representative from Florida (via REUTERS)

Their appearance comes after a busy week of Mr Trump surrogates putting in appearances at the court and delivering scathing attacks on Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter on the former president’s behalf – something that the gag order bans Mr Trump from doing himself.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and Senator JD Vance were among the Republicans who showed up earlier this week.

Judge Merchan placed Mr Trump under a gag order, barring him from making or directing public statements about the witnesses, jurors, attorneys, court staff and their families.

The former president has violated that gag order 10 times, racking up $10,000 in fines, and could face jail time if he continues to violate it.

But surrogates are free to make the comments on his behalf – for now.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson attacked the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness Michael Cohen and attacked the judge’s daughter. Mr Ramaswamy called Cohen a “fifth-rate lawyer” and the prosecution “fourth-rate.”

Florida Representative Byron Donalds similarly claimed the judge’s daughter was using the trial to raise money for Democrats.

Alex Woodward contributed to this report from Manhattan criminal court.

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