RNC Preparing For Possibility Of Trump Being In Jail During Convention
Former President Donald Trump walks off after speaking at a news conference from the lobby of Trump Tower the day after being found guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree at Manhattan Criminal Court, in New York, NY on Friday, May 31, 2024.
(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Organizers for the GOP national convention next month in Milwaukee are preparing for the possibility that former President Donald Trump will be in jail when he receives the party’s nomination, according to Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Whatley.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled sentencing for the middle of July — four days before the start of the Republican convention — after a jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts last week in Trump’s hush-money trial in New York.

Whatley told Newsmax on Tuesday that RNC officials “expect” Trump to be in Milwaukee to accept the nomination, but are “working on” a plan for if he is in jail. “We will make whatever contingency planning we need to make for it. But the fact is, he is going to be our nominee and he is going to be the 47th president of the United States,” Whatley added.

The RNC chief declined to get into specifics when pressed for details on the preparations, including how Trump might address the convention. Host Rob Finnerty floated the possibilities of Trump recording a speech before he is sentenced or delivering remarks from jail.

“Everything is being thought about. Everything is being considered at this point in time,” Whatley said, adding, “We will have to wait and see what the courts present us with the opportunity to do, but look, Donald Trump will communicate directly with the American voters the way that he always does.”

The case involves 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to allegedly cover up damaging information as part of a “catch-and-kill” scheme to influence the 2016 election. Trump, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, said he would be “appealing this scam.”

Sentencing is scheduled for July 11. Legal experts doubt the 77-year-old Trump will end up being placed behind bars given that he had no criminal record prior to the conviction, though the Secret Service has reportedly coordinated with local jail officials just in case. Possible alternatives to imprisonment include probation or community service.

Three other criminal matters on the state and federal levels hang over Trump as he seeks re-election this year, prompting the former president to say he is the victim of a politically motivated “witch hunt.” It is unclear whether any of those will reach the trial stage before the November election, but Trump can run despite a conviction.


President Joe Biden is also running for a second term this election cycle. Democrats are reportedly planning to nominate him virtually weeks before their August convention in Chicago as part of a shuffle that could avoid complications that could leave Biden off the ballot in Ohio and avoid embarrassing protests by critics.

Whatley guessed Democrats also fear Biden being on the air for an “extended period of time.” He added, “They want to try and hide him. That’s their entire campaign plan … they’re going back to the basement like they did in 2020. He just is not able to communicate directly with the American people, so they’re going to do it as a studio production.”

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