In a victorious moment on May 9, a New York jury found former US President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E Jean Carroll, former advice columnist for Elle magazine – awarding her $5 million in damages.
“Today, the world finally knows the truth,” Carroll said in a statement, Reuters reported. “This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.”
Carroll, 79, sued Trump last year, alleging that he raped her in the changing room of the luxury Bergdorf Goodman store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in 1996. The former columnist for Elle magazine went public with the allegation in 2019, but Trump denied it, calling her a ‘complete con job’.
It is a glorious moment, as this verdict is the first time Trump has faced legal consequences over sexual misconduct allegations dating back decades and involving a dozen women. But it’s also disheartening that it took this long to happen.
The nine-person jury still rejected Carroll’s accusation of rape but upheld her other complaints. Regardless of the verdict, Trump, unfortunately, does not seem to have lost much other than his millions. Just a day after the verdict, the former president took to a CNN town hall in New Hampshire, speaking for 90 minutes.
Throughout the event, moderated by CNN host Kaitlan Collins – he once again refused to concede that he lost the 2020 election and repeated false claims of a ‘rigged election’, among many others. He even alleged that if he were president, Russia would ‘never have invaded Ukraine’, and refused to call Putin a ‘war criminal’. He also again deflected blame for the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021, and said that he would pardon many of the rioters who breached the Capitol that day.
Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, has emerged as a frontrunner in the GOP field. The town hall came as Trump faces multiple legal challenges, including an indictment in New York over a hush-money case as well. He is also under investigation over alleged attempted interference in Georgia during the 2020 election, and possible mishandling of classified documents. But despite every single thing that has happened since Trump left office in 2021, his supporters still persist.
The CNN town hall was also full of Republican voters who were in his corner from minute one. Trump launched his fourth bid for elections last November – facing some of the loudest criticism yet from within his Republican Party. Like Biden, he remains unpopular with much of the electorate. But he has retained an iron grip on his base and strengthened his standing in polls, especially after his indictment by New York prosecutors in connection with the Stormi Daniels case. There are many other Republican candidates in the race, but none of them can compete with the extraordinary hold that Trump has on his followers. Even his Democratic opposition, current US president Biden – is losing credibility day by day. This makes the elections a lot more complicated, and many are worried that we will see a repeat of the 2016 elections in 2024.
The US presidential elections work a lot different than ours, and it’s a complex process. American voters do not directly elect their president. When citizens go to the polls, they just vote for “electors”. These electors then go on to choose between presidential candidates. In the US Election process, voters merely indicate a preference, but the task of actually electing the president falls to these 538 individual electors to the US Electoral College. It is possible for candidates to be the most popular candidate among voters and still fail to win enough states to gain majority electoral votes.
When Trump ran for elections in 2016, many mocked his campaign – most of the world was under the impression that someone like him would never actually succeed. But we all know of the horrors that unfolded in front of us for the four years that followed. Part of the reason why Trump won that year, is because a significant chunk of voters were dissatisfied with their choice of candidates overall, and voted for independent parties. Voting for independent parties is almost the equivalent of not voting at all – as the Democratic and Republican parties particularly dominate the US elections. That year, Trump had almost three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton but won the presidency because the electoral college gave him a majority.
The 2024 elections seem to be heading in the same direction, as more and more Americans express their dissatisfaction with the current candidates. Trump has had an undeniable impact on not just the USA but the rest of the world with his policies as president. It was actually his administration that approved the controversial Willow Project, a massive and decade-long oil drilling venture on Alaska’s North Slope in the National Petroleum Reserve. The project could produce up to 750 million barrels of oil and 287 million tons of carbon emissions plus other greenhouse gases over 30 years, and could adversely impact Arctic wildlife and Native American communities. He has also constantly mocked climate change, and abortion rights and has simply proven himself to be unfit to lead a country on numerous occasions.
Despite it all, he still enjoys his privileges and nothing has changed.