Trump ‘OK’ with jail but supporters would be at ‘breaking point’

Donald Trump became the first US president convicted of a crime, on Thursday
Donald Trump became the first US president convicted of a crime, on Thursday - Frank Franklin II/AP Photo

Donald Trump said he is “OK” with being jailed but warned his followers may reach “breaking point” if he is sentenced to prison.

Trump, 77, became the first US president convicted of a crime on Thursday when a New York jury found him guilty on 34 charges of falsifying documents to cover up an alleged affair.

The Republican nominee now faces a punishment of up to four years in prison when he is sentenced on July 11.

Legal experts have argued he is more likely to be given a sentence of home confinement or probation, but others claim his campaign of attacks against Judge Juan Merchan, who will decide his sentence, could backfire.

“I’m OK with it,” Trump told Fox News, when asked about his potential incarceration in his first interview since conviction.

“I saw one of my lawyers the other day on television saying, ‘Oh no, you don’t want to do that to the president.’ I said: ‘You don’t beg for anything, that’s just the way it is’”.

But while Trump said he is at peace with the prospect of a prison sentence, he suggested his supporters may not. They ransacked the Capitol when Trump refused to recognise the 2020 election result.

“I’m not sure the public would stand for it”, he said of a possible prison sentence.

“I think it would be tough for the public to take, you know, at a certain point, there’s a breaking point,” he added.

Trump’s warning will resonate in a country already concerned about the prospect of unrest and political harassment in the run-up to the November election. He still faces trial for inciting an insurrection.

The Telegraph revealed that Secret Service chiefs are working out plans to facilitate Trump’s round-the-clock protection if he is sentenced to prison.

All former presidents are entitled by law to 24-hour security for life, making the task of finding suitable accommodation trickier.

If Trump is given a sentence of up to a year he will likely be sent to “VIP” west wing of the notorious Rikers Island prison in the Bronx. If he is given a longer stint he will need to be housed in a state prison.

During the Fox News interview, which aired on Sunday, Trump also said the trial had been “tougher” on his family than himself.

“I have a wonderful wife who has to listen to this stuff all the time”, he said.

“She’s fine, but I think it’s very hard for her. I mean, she’s fine. But it’s … you know, she has to read all this crap.”

Melania Trump was notably absent from Manhattan Criminal Court throughout Trump’s trial. While his children Eric, Don Jr and Tiffany attended days of the hearing to support their father, Mrs Trump and his daughter Ivanka did not.

The former president also insisted he is the only person who could endure what he has described as a political “witch hunt” orchestrated by Joe Biden.

“A lot of people said, ‘We have no choice but to elect Trump… because he’s the only one that can withstand this’

“Don’t forget, if it weren’t me they’d be going into somebody else and I know a lot of the competition, they wouldn’t do so well…

“They’d be saying, ‘Mommy, take me home, I want to go home, this is brutal.’”

It comes as Stormy Daniels called for Trump to be sentenced to prison as she broke her silence on the Trump verdict.

“I think he should be sentenced to jail and some community service working for the less fortunate, or being the volunteer punching bag at a women’s shelter,” Ms Daniels told the Sunday Mirror.

A $130,000 (£102,000) hush money payment to adult film star Daniels was at the centre of Trump’s criminal trial.

Ms Daniels, who dished salacious details about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump during her testimony, said she was “shocked” at how quickly the jury rendered its verdict.

Trump faces three other criminal trials, including one related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost to Mr Biden.