Trump claims he’s a ‘modern-day Mandela’ and prepared to go to jail over hush-money case

Former president lashes out against judge and dares him to enforce expanded gag order

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 07 April 2024 19:14 BST
Donald Trump appears in New York court for hearing in hush money case

Donald Trump has again compared himself to a historically-persecuted figure - this time, the late South African leader and anti-apartheid legend Nelson Mandela.

Mr Trump made the comparison on Saturday on his social media platform, Truth Social, as he railed against Judge Juan Merchan for his latest ruling to expand a gag order against him. Mr Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels in the New York trial.

The former president even claimed that he was prepared to go to jail.

“If this Partisan Hack wants to put me in the ‘clink’ for speaking the open and obvious TRUTH, I will gladly become a Modern Day Nelson Mandela - It will be my GREAT HONOR,” Mr Trump posted.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in jail for standing up to South Africa’s apartheid system. He was later released and went on to become the first Black president of South Africa after a fully-democratic election.

Donald and Melania Trump pictured on Saturday at the home of hedgefund manager John Paulson in Palm Beach during a fundraiser
Donald and Melania Trump pictured on Saturday at the home of hedgefund manager John Paulson in Palm Beach during a fundraiser (Getty Images)

Mr Trump has previously likened himself to Mr Mandela. Last October, at a campaign event, he said: “I’ll tell you what, I don’t mind being Nelson Mandela, because I’m doing it for a reason.”

The former president has previously likened himself to Jesus and Elvis Presley.

Mr Trump’s most pressing legal woes this past week stemmed from the hush money case, where he has lost all of his bids to delay a trial that is now slated to begin on 15 April. He faces 34 felony counts in the case.

On Monday, the president was dealt another blow in the New York case when the judge presiding over the trial expanded a gag order already in place to include members of his family, whom Mr Trump had railed against in social media postings.

On 26 March, Mr Trump posted on Truth Social accusing judge Merchan’s daughter of political connections to Joe Biden and California lawmaker Adam Schiff, a frequent outspoken political foe of Mr Trump.

In all, Mr Trump faces 88 felony counts in four separate criminal prosecutions along a civil fraud trial in New York, which he has lost but filed an appeal to overturn.

Mr Trump’s trial in New York remains the only one now guaranteed to take place before the 2024 general election. A series of delays in his two remaining federal cases and Georgia prosecution have pushed those expected trial dates into the realm of total uncertainty.

He remains the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party after defeating rivals in the GOP presidential primaries this winter.

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