Trump returns to campaign trail, court battles as family mourns the loss of Melania's mother

 January 12, 2024

Donald Trump had little time to mourn the loss of his mother-in-law this week as he seeks to maintain a frenetic campaign schedule filled with court dates.

Trump appeared at a Fox town hall in Iowa on Wednesday night, just one day after the death of Amalija Knavs, 78.

Meanwhile, the judge in Trump's New York civil fraud case rejected a request to delay the trial that cited Knavs' death.

Trump shines at town hall

The town hall ran parallel to a CNN debate that Trump skipped. The candidates, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, lacerated one another as Trump basked in glory on Fox's stage - but he wasn't thrown softballs.

Interviewers Brett Baier and Martha MacCallum pushed Trump to clarify his comments about there being "bedlam" in the country if he isn't granted immunity from criminal charges, and he was pressured on his campaign promises of "retribution."

“Remember this, our ultimate retribution is success,” Trump said.

Trump mocked Chris Christie, who dropped out of the race hours earlier, and DeSantis, who Trump said would be working in a pizzeria without his help.

Melania Trump's absence from her husband's side has been widely remarked over the past year, but she is rumored to be eyeing a more active campaign role in the months ahead.

She was unable to be present for a widely publicized Christmas photograph because she was caring for her ailing mom, who died Tuesday.

President Trump called it "a very sad night for the entire family" and said Knavs "was an incredible woman, and will be missed far beyond words."

Vile judge rejects delay

Trump had a busy week in court, swinging through Washington D.C. for an appeal hearing on his presidential immunity argument before delivering a dramatic speech to close out his New York civil fraud trial.

The judge, Arthur Engoron, had barred Trump from giving his own closing argument, but Trump ignored the warning.

"I did nothing wrong, they should pay me for what we’ve had to go through… What happened here, sir, is a fraud on me," Trump said.

Trump's lawyers had cited Knavs' death to ask for a delay, but the request was refused by the judge with an apology.

Engoron, who found Trump guilty before the trial began, has said he expects to issue a ruling by January 31.

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