- After day one of his impeachment trial, an “enraged” Trump told an aide: “Bruce doesn’t go on TV again.”
- Castor, one of Trump’s defense lawyers, was criticized for his long-winded presentation.
- Castor “began shouting angrily” at the aide who delivered the message, The New York Times reported.
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Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyer Bruce L. Castor Jr. blew up at an aide who told him that the former president didn’t want him speaking publicly again after the first day of the trial, according to The New York Times.
Trump advisor Justin Clark conveyed to Castor in a meeting at the Trump International Hotel that the former president wanted him benched, at which point Castor “began angrily shouting” over the snub and stormed out of the room before eventually returning and apologizing, The Times said.
Castor’s first speech on Tuesday jumped around from reminiscing about his parents playing Everett Dirksen’s speeches on vinyl when he was a child to extolling the virtues of the US Senate, giving cheeky shoutouts to Sens. Pat Toomey and Ben Sasse, and making a number of long-winded, confusing historical comparisons and analogies.
Castor also explicitly acknowledged multiple times that President Joe Biden had been elected in a free and fair election. His comments undermined Trump’s months of claiming that the election was stolen from him. They also undercut the defense’s team’s own arguments expressed in pretrial briefs that Trump’s comments before the January 6 Capitol riots were protected under the First Amendment because he truly believed that the election results were suspect.
Trump, for his part, was “enraged” at Castor’s “meandering, low-energy performance” and called Clark to “vent,” telling him “Bruce doesn’t go on TV again,” according to The Times.
Castor was widely panned by the press and pundits, and several GOP senators serving as jurors also openly criticized his performance.
“President Trump’s team was disorganized, they did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand. And when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, who ultimately voted to convict Trump, told reporters on Tuesday evening.
Even senators who voted in favor of Trump’s acquittal, like Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, said that Castor “just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument.”
Castor did speak again while presenting the defense’s arguments on Friday, when the defense team used less than three of its 16 allotted hours to present its case.
The Times reported that Trump’s defense team, led by Castor, Bruce Schoen, and Michael van der Veen, was put together at the last minute after a number of high-profile lawyers refused to represent Trump. The former president’s first defense team quit in part because he insisted on them pushing false claims of voter fraud.
Schoen, who was originally set to lead the defense team with South Carolina-based government and election attorney Butch Bowers, disputed that account to The Times.
In the end, Trump was acquitted by a vote of 57-43, falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority that would have been required to convict him.