I have to admit that this one caught me by surprise: Miami Mayor Frances Suarez has announced he is running for the Republican nominee for President. I have to confess he doesn’t sound much different than the rest of the field. I’ve linked to his campaign page but it appears ask for money and do little else. We’ll see how it turns out.
This may be a good time to ask why so many Republicans are running, particularly since Donald Trump currently runs so far ahead. Well, here’s my theory: I’ve discussed (and will continue to discuss) his many legal troubles; he’s also 77 years old and eats a poor diet. There is a distinct possibility that something outside of the voters will end his campaign and I think his competitors hope his exit will begin their rise.
This certainly explains why most of them are loathe to criticize him. They all know he has a loyal base who they don’t wish to anger. They know they can’t beat him with votes but want to be ready if he’s arrested (or flees) or has a health crisis.
In any case here’s the lineup:
Since he first announced his run for President we’ve known that Donald Trump believes that rules and laws apply to other people and nothing he does is wrong. He is the only President to be impeached twice for clear wrongdoing; he successfully hid behind his office. But it appears his hubris may have reached its limit.
In March he was indicted by the state of New York for falsifying business records; a woman named Stephanie Clifford (stage name Stormy Daniels) claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump. Trump then directed money to buy her silence and claimed it was money paid to his attorney.
But he has since been indicted on far more serious charges. When a President leaves office virtually all his papers belong to the National Archives and special care is given to memos classified as Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. There’s always a fair amount of chaos when a President leaves office and it’s not unheard of for someone to accidentally remove documents that should have stayed. When President Trump left the White House on January 20, 2021 he directed boxes to be taken to his residence in Florida. When the National Archives noticed documents were missing they asked the Trump team to produce them. Trump refused. Trump was then issued a subpoena demanding those documents. Again he refused. He then directed his lawyers to either deny they exist or hide them to make sure they weren’t found. In August of last year the FBI obtained a search warrant as they believe Trump still has documents that belong to the National Archives; they search his residence and find 102 classified documents.
You can read the full text of the indictment here. It’s remarkably short and readable and I recommend everyone read it. Please note: if you haven’t read it and want to give me your opinion I won’t listen.
So where do we go from here? These are serious charges and he could end up doing serious prison time if he’s convicted. But he has a history of using social pressure and money to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. He’s claiming that he’s being singled out because he’s running for President and the whole thing is unfair. It’s been good for his popularity and fundraising but won’t make any difference as his case goes on.
At this point he has a few choices:
- He can go to trial and hope to be acquitted. But he runs the risk of being convicted and sentenced. I don’t see him doing this
- He can instruct his lawyers to bargain for a lighter sentence. In other words he pleads guilty to a lesser charge that will give him a lighter sentence. This would require him to admit guilt. Again, I don’t see him doing this.
- He can plead “no contest.” This means he avoids admitting guilt but does not fight the charges and he accepts that he will be sentenced. Vice President Spiro Agnew famously used this plea in 1973. To the extent that this does not absolve him of the charges I don’t see him doing this.
- Similarly a defendant can use the “Alford plea.” Here the defendant also does not admit guilt but recognizes that there is enough evidence to convict him. Once again this does not allow him to avoid being sentenced and I can’t see him agreeing to this.
So what will he do? I’ve been miserably wrong in all my predictions but I think he’ll run. Much like Edward Snowden I believe he’ll find a way to get to Russia and seek asylum from Vladimir Putin. Furthermore I believe that he kept many of those documents as a type of “currency” to get Putin to allow him in.
I know that’s a pretty serious charge but I believe nothing matters to Trump more than saving his own skin. When he was arraigned he wasn’t required to surrender his passport. If that happens you heard it here first.
While the Democratic field for the 2024 Presidential election appears pretty stable, the Republican field keeps getting bigger and bigger. Former President Donald Trump continues to be the front runner but his legal troubles continue to pile up. It appears that the other candidates are banking that at some point he won’t be able to continue his candidacy and they are hoping to be positioned to take the mantle. Some are critical of Mr. Trump, others are not. But all of them know that something will have to happen for them to have a shot.
As of now here is the lineup: