Former President Donald Trump is facing four separate criminal indictments with a combined total of 91 felony counts against him, and some of his staunchest critics and detractors are all but salivating at the prospect that the leading 2024 Republican candidate could end up in the Big House instead of the White House next year.
Yet, many of Trump's devoted supporters have made it clear that they will remain loyal and continue to back him even if he ends up going to prison, according to NBC News.
One Trump supporter from Arizona told NBC News, "If he’s convicted and he wins, put the Oval Office in whatever prison they have him in," while another from Iowa told the outlet that as "crazy" as such a proposition was, it "would be kind of fun to see actually."
Still another Republican backer of Trump said, "He can still run for president if he’s behind bars and he would still get the same amount of votes," and added, "Keep him tied up all next year, and we’re still going to vote for him. And I’ll tell you what, if it gets stolen again, it might be a third world war."
"I think he would govern well from wherever he was," surmised a different Trump supporter from Arizona, while one from South Carolina stated, "I will support him because the man is amazing. I think this is such corruptness today it’s unbelievable."
NBC News noted that while former President Trump ending up in prison was "plausible," according to presidential historian David Brinkley, it would almost certainly trigger a constitutional crisis in addition to creating an untold number of logistical issues in terms of his attempting to fulfill the chief executive's duties while behind bars.
"The White House apparatus would be moved into a jail cell, and he would probably govern via his lawyer, who would be his chief of staff," the historian theorized, even if only for a few weeks until he either pardoned himself or the Justice Department pulled strings to get him out of prison.
As for Trump himself, he recently told NBC News in an interview that he doesn't "even think about" the prospect of being imprisoned, but that isn't entirely true, as he did recently touch on the subject briefly during a campaign rally.
Speaking to his supporters in Iowa this week, according to Newsweek, Trump talked for a bit about a gag order imposed on him by one of the judges presiding over his prosecution that he asserted was intended to silence his 2024 campaign, and told the crowd of voters, "But what they don't understand is that I am willing to go to jail if that's what it takes for our country to win and become a democracy again."
As noted, many of former President Trump's haters have been downright gleeful at the thought of him ending up serving time in prison instead of a second term in the White House, but law professor Jonathan Turley burst that bubble with a dose of reality in an August op-ed for USA Today.
Turley laid out several reasons why Trump, even if convicted on some of the dozens of dubious criminal charges against him, would be unlikely to actually end up behind bars, particularly given his age and lack of any prior criminal record.
Were Trump to actually be convicted of any charges, a potentially years-long appeals process would then play out, with a strong likelihood that Trump would remain free while those appeals were pending. And if he were to also win the presidency during that time, any federal convictions could be commuted or pardoned while any state-level sentencing would almost certainly be delayed until after he left office.
Despite the multiple indictments against him -- or perhaps because of them -- Trump continues to be the undisputed front-runner among the field of 2024 Republican candidates, with RealClearPolitics pegging his voter support at nearly 58%, more than 44 points higher than his closest competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who garners around 13.4% support from GOP voters.
As for a potential rematch of the 2020 election between Trump and President Biden, RCP currently has that race virtually tied at nearly 44% support for both prospective nominees, with Biden leading in some polls while Trump is ahead in others.