Trump campaign furiously denies claim former president fell asleep in court

The alleged incident had spawned a new nickname for the 77-year-old former president online: ‘Sleepy Don’

Mike Bedigan
Tuesday 16 April 2024 02:22 BST
Donald Trump arrives for hush money trial in New York

Donald Trump’s campaign has furiously denied that the former president fell asleep in court during the first day of his historic criminal trial in New York, blasting the claims as “100% fake news”.

According to court reporters present in the courtroom on Monday, Mr Trump appeared at times to be struggling to keep his eyes open, with some going so far as to claim that he had actually fallen asleep. The observation quickly prompted an onslaught of nicknames and jokes on social media.

But in a statement shared with The Independent following the conclusion of proceedings, the campaign said: “This is 100% Fake News coming from ‘journalists’ who weren’t even in the court room.”

Jury selection got underway on Monday in Mr Trump’s trial, and he faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a bid to cover up hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He allegedly paid Ms Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence over a 2006 affair, though he pleaded not guilty to all charges.

It is the first-ever criminal trial of a sitting or former president.

The alleged incident on Monday had spawned a new nickname for the 77-year-old former president online: ‘Sleepy Don’
The alleged incident on Monday had spawned a new nickname for the 77-year-old former president online: ‘Sleepy Don’ (Angela Weiss - Pool/Getty Images)

Despite the Trump campaign’s vehement denial that he had fallen asleep, the reports of his brief nap were pounced upon by social media users and spawned a new nickname for the 77-year-old online: “Sleepy Don.”

The denial did not stop President Joe Biden and his own campaign from capitalising on the ridicule, given Mr Trump’s penchant for referring to his political rival as “Sleepy Joe” on the campaign trail.

The president’s team retweeted a video of New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman telling CNN about seeing Mr Trump allegedly dozing off during jury selection. “His head would fall down. He didn’t pay attention to a note his lawyer passed him. His jaw kept falling on his chest and his mouth kept going slack,” the team wrote.

The Biden-Harris campaign also posted a meme making fun of Mr Trump’s fiery late-night Truth Social posts as he is allegedly snoozing on this historic day, though Mr Biden did not post about the incident from his main account.

Elsewhere, other X users delighted in the rumours, with Mother Jones DC bureau chief David Corn writing:“My theory: Trump’s legal team sedated him.”

“Looks, he’s old. The judge is keeping Sleepy Don from his nap time,” MeidasTouch editor-in-chief Ron Filipkowski posted.

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Super PAC, wrote that Mr Trump had worn himself out with his post-trial Truth Social rants.

#SleepyDon was up late rage-posting on Truth Social,” the account posted.

The former president’s apparent courtroom nap eventually began trending on X, with users flocking to the hashtag #DonSnorleone, a reference to the mafia kingpin Don Corleone from the Godfather series. Others chose another pun for Mr Trump: The Nodfather.

Others made jokes about Trump ally Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, with one person tweeting: “Where is the My Pillow guy when you need him?”

Jury selection will continue on Tuesday morning.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in