Former President Donald Trump appeared via video in a Manhattan courtroom this week for a hearing on the criminal indictment related to 2016 "hush money" payments to two women to silence them about alleged prior affairs.
Trump was reportedly visibly angry when presiding Judge Juan Merchan set a trial date in the case for March 25, 2024, which places it right in the middle of the presidential primary season, the Associated Press reported.
Unsurprisingly, the embattled front-running Republican candidate lashed out afterward on social media and declared the development to be "very unfair" and "ELECTION INTERFERENCE," among other complaints.
According to the AP, when Judge Merchan announced during the hearing that the "hush money" payments trial would commence in his courtroom on March 25 next year, a visibly frustrated former President Trump could be seen throwing up his hands before leaning over to briefly and quietly consult with an attorney sitting next to him.
He then sat silent for the remainder of the hearing with his arms crossed in front of him while he glared with obvious anger through the camera and video monitors in the courtroom.
The outlet noted that Judge Merchan informed Trump that the trial could take "several weeks" to conclude once it had begun and advised the presidential candidate to cancel all of his obligations and plans during that particular span of time.
The reason for former President Trump's fury at the scheduled start date of the trial and advisement to cancel all plans during that period is understandable given that it will occur during the heart of the presidential primary season.
According to a tentative schedule for 2024's presidential primary elections -- which is subject to change between now and then -- the March 25 trial date is actually situated amid a brief lull in the primary season after GOP elections are held in 29 states, with the most recent prior elections being five that take place on March 19.
Assuming that Merchan's description of the trial taking "several weeks" means that it will be less than a month, then it should be concluded before the next cluster of four GOP primary elections scheduled for April 23.
In between that gap from March 19 to April 23 is only the Wisconsin primary on April 2, which Trump will presumably miss, not to mention the possibility of a schedule change for one of the other primaries or the assignment during that period of primary elections for the handful of states that have not yet designated a specific date.
But it likely isn't so much missing the primary elections themselves that has Trump enraged, but rather the associated campaign events that he will be forced to cancel or miss.
Indeed, that gap of time between clusters of primary elections from late March to late April will likely prove critical to all candidates who still remain in the race in terms of holding rallies and fundraisers, and other campaign-related events.
As the AP noted, Trump didn't vocally express his outrage at the scheduled trial date during the hearing, but he certainly did so on his Truth Social account afterward, as he wrote, "Just had New York County Supreme Court hearing where I believe my First Amendment Rights, 'Freedom of Speech,' have been violated, and they forced upon us a trial date of March 25th, right in the middle of Primary season."
"Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted... nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before!!!" he added.