Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event on April 02, 2024 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Donald Trump on Saturday said he welcomed the prospect of going to jail for violating a gag order in his upcoming New York hush money trial.

“I will gladly become a Modern Day Nelson Mandela — It will be my GREAT HONOR,” the former president wrote in a lengthy Truth Social post attacking New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over Trump’s case.

It was not the first time Trump has likened himself to a martyr as he faces a flurry of criminal charges.

In an October rant against his various lawsuits, the presumptive Republican nominee also compared himself to Mandela, the former president of South Africa who spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activism.

And last week, Trump took to Truth Social to share a message that likened his legal troubles to the persecution of Jesus Christ.

Saturday’s tirade occurred just over a week before the trial is scheduled to begin on April 15.

That day, jury selection will get underway in the state’s criminal prosecution of the former president on 34 counts of falsifying business documents, allegedly in order to hide a hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has accused Merchan of being compromised because of his daughter’s role at a progressive consulting firm that has worked for Democrats.

Trump’s social media rant on Saturday was the latest of several that he has posted about the judge’s daughter since Merchan first imposed an initial gag order at the end of March.

That order prohibited Trump from making public statements about the case’s witnesses, jurors and lawyers. He was also banned from publicly speaking about court staff, employees in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and their family members. That first gag order came in response to Trump’s repeated calls for the judge to recuse himself.

One day after the first gag order was imposed on March 26, Trump went after Merchan’s daughter on social media.

Soon after that, Merchan granted prosecutors a request to expand the scope of the order to prohibit direct attacks on Merchan’s family members and the family of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Under the expanded order, Trump can still criticize Merchan and Bragg individually. But he is not allowed to target their families publicly.

Playing with the fire of his gag orders is becoming routine for Trump.

In October, Judge Arthur Engoron threatened Trump with jail time for violating a similar order in a civil case and ultimately issued him $10,000 in fines.

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign seized on Saturday’s Mandela comments.

“Imagine being so self-centered that you compare yourself to Jesus Christ and Nelson Mandela all within the span of little more than a week: that’s Donald Trump for you,” Biden campaign spokesperson Jasmine Harris said on Saturday.


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