Trumped

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‘This is a big story, I hope it meets the deadline!’

During a 40 year career as a journalist, for our Editor Phil Parry timing and meeting deadlines were critical, and this is now underlined by the chaos shown in the UK press, as they struggled to cover one of the most important stories this decade, and instead of leading in early editions on the conviction of Donald Trump, one instead splashed with: “Pressure on Starmer to end ‘purge of Labour left’.

 

It has been incredible to watch.

Donald Trump said afterwards: ‘I’m very innocent!’

Instead of being treated to the news that the first former or serving US president in history was found guilty of a crime, some papers had to lead in early editions which were repeated online, with tedious news about the latest controversy to engulf Labour, or information about measures to give cancer patients “TAILORED VACCINES ON NHS”!

This was because the verdict against Donald Trump in the ‘hush money trial’ came in New York, after their news deadlines.

So a lot of newspapers had to give early prominence to stories they KNEW to be fairly boring, rather than the one they really wanted about Mr Trump.

Many of them were forced to splash on the most recent news about Labour, and no matter how much they tried to dress it up, everyone realised what the real story was.

We had on the Friday after the sensational news in New York, the Daily Express giving us: “EXPOSED! SPLITS IN LABOUR RANKS”.

Apart from news like that Metro.Co.Uk had a mother’s view of her son’s killer being jailed: “‘COLD-BLOODED MONSTER'”.

Let’s remind ourselves of how big this was – apart from being the first former or serving US president to be found guilty of a crime, Mr Trump is the first presumptive major-party nominee to become a convicted felon as well.

He awaits a sentence on July 11 that could in theory include prison time and a hefty fine.

As Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University has declared: “We often look to history to find some kind of hint of what’s going to happen. But there is nothing in the record that comes even close to this”.

During the trial Mr Trump could play on it all being a ‘witch-hunt’, with polls indicating he was in a statistical dead heat with President Joe Biden, but it may all be different now because those same surveys also provide evidence that this conviction might change things.

In exit polls conducted during the Republican primaries this winter, double-digit numbers of voters said that they would not vote for the former president if he were convicted of a felony.

An April survey by Ipsos and ABC News found that 16 per cent of those backing Mr Trump would reconsider their support in such a situation.

The truth is that the sentence is unlikely to be jail, although it might include community work. Imagine seeing an ex-president litter-picking in a visi vest!

Remember that even after this guilty verdict, Mr Trump still faces several criminal cases, among them one that is related to an alleged conspiracy to overturn the result of the 2020 election, and another about his handling of classified documents once leaving the White House.

In fact this case was meant to be the weakest!

The judge in another of those cases, Arthur Engoron, has already ruled that Mr Trump had:

  • Overvalued his Florida home Mar-a-Lago by 2,300 per cent in one financial statement.
  • Overvalued his Penthouse at Trump Tower in New York by claiming that it was three times its actual size.
  • “Absurdly” argued that calculating the area of the Penthouse was subjective, with the judge saying that “a discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud”.

But perhaps the culmination of all these trials will be missed by the papers too…

 

The memories of Phil’s decades-long award-winning career in journalism (when major political stories, and meeting deadlines were always paramount), as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Tomorrow – how revelations that a man charged under the National Security Act with foreign interference, was a special police constable, has thrown the spotlight on our disclosure that a jailed Welsh drug dealer had also been one, amid growing demands for greater vetting.