Some Thoughts on Donald Trump’s Civil Trial

Some Thoughts on Donald Trump’s Civil Trial May 3, 2023

I have been watching the civil trial of Donald Trump.

There aren’t any cameras in the courtroom, but reporters are doing their best to keep us up to date. I’ve been refreshing the tab every few minutes, waiting for the next tweet, reading, shuddering, refreshing the page again.

It’s quite the court case.

Ms. E. Jean Carroll has her own impassioned testimony, the testimony of her therapist, that of the person she called after it happened, and two other women who describe being sexually assaulted by Trump in eerily similar ways– not to mention, video footage of Trump’s deposition and the famous audio recording of him boasting about sexually assaulting women.  Trump has nothing. He is not even in New York, and will not be testifying in his own defense. His attorneys are not calling a single witness. They’re cross examining Carroll’s witnesses in the most incompetent way, asking why Carroll didn’t scream or call the police, seemingly doing everything they can to make themselves odious to the jury. They are filing silly motions just to get the chance at an appeal, which is their only hope. Even the judge is mocking them. Civil trials only require a preponderance of evidence, and so far only one side has provided evidence of any kind.

One thing has been made clear, from the witnesses’ horrifying accounts: when Donald Trump boasted “”I just start kissing them… When you’re a star, you can do anything. Grab ’em by the p*ssy”,” that wasn’t some weird turn of the phrase. He was giving a vivid description of his signature rape strategy. That’s something he does. He gets a woman alone, pushes them against a wall, forcibly kisses them, and grabs them down there. He said that proudly, he told the truth for a change, and he was still elected president. His loathsome  third wife told the press “that was just boy talk” even though she was living in the house while this was going on, and she was praised as a good Christian First Lady because she wore a Rosary at her wedding.

I grew up in a devout Catholic home. I became a teenager during the Clinton sex scandal. I remember standing in the doorway to get a peek at the news, which my mother thought was too scandalous for her impressionable daughter to hear. We thought Clinton was an absolute sleaze, and I still do. If Bill Clinton somehow ran for a third term, I wouldn’t vote for him unless he was running against an even worse sleaze. And if you told me that most politicians are this sleazy behind closed doors, I would probably agree with you. I don’t have a high opinion of any politician. I vote the way that I do as a form of harm reduction, not because I think any politician is a good person.

But no one ever told me I had to like Bill Clinton or else I was a bad Christian.

No one ever presented Bill Clinton to me as the only Christian option.

No one ever harassed me that I was a heretic and a baby killer going to hell, because I realized that Bill Clinton was a sleaze and denounced him for it.

And here we have Donald Trump, who from the very beginning was exponentially worse than Bill Clinton, warning us of who he was. He always boasted about his ways with women. He never pretended to be different. And we were told that we would go to hell for not falling in line behind him, because the other side was full of sinners who hated babies and traditional marriage.

I don’t know how many different times I can say “I’m shocked, but I’m not surprised.”

I have said that so often since 2016. I’m saying it again today.

He said he was a rapist, now we have testimony to that effect from three different women in a court of law. Juries are unpredictable, but the defense isn’t even putting up a fight. They say he did to them everything he bragged about doing, and every commentator I’ve seen believes them. It’s both shocking and not at all surprising.

This ugly, shameful, sordid period in our history ought to make every American Christian blush. It’s not that they voluntarily hitched their entire political movement to such a swine. Most political movements are hitched to swine. It’s that they told us we were going to hell if we called their swine a swine.

And they’ve been living with the pig manure for eight years now, all the while telling us that it doesn’t stink.

At this point, they deserve what they get.



Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.





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