Trump’s Eyes Wide Shut Strategy

There are a lot of rules in Courtroom 1530 inside the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building, many of which are posted next to the swinging entry doors.

Food and beverage are not permitted in the courtroom. Neither is the reading of a newspaper. Beepers and telephones are not to be turned on.

But nowhere does it say you have to keep your eyes open. So, often, former President Donald Trump does not.

Today, I’m writing from overflow courtroom just down the hallway from where Trump is standing trial in a sex scandal coverup case. I’m squeezed onto a wooden bench with my colleagues watching something only a few Americans have actually seen: the closed-captioned video feed of Trump’s criminal trial.

And I saw something I had never seen: a totally quiet and calm Trump, eyes closed, seemingly content to let it all pass him by.

It was a jarring departure from the combative figure we have come to know from the White House, the campaign trail and the courthouse halls. Trump regularly marches up to the cameras in the hallway during breaks and slams the whole affair as “election interference.” On his way out of court, he called the judge a “tyrant.”

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