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The problem(s) with Trump’s offensive against a judge’s wife

Donald Trump thought it'd be a good idea to go after a judge's wife this week. There are all kinds of problems with this, some less obvious than others.

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As the civil trial in New York against the Trump Organization continues, Donald Trump has spent recent months throwing assorted tantrums about the presiding jurist, Judge Arthur Engoron. For a while, I tried to keep up with every anti-Engoron harangue the former president published to his social media platform, but in time, the task simply proved too daunting.

For the Republican, it also proved inadequate. In October, Trump also went after the judge’s law clerk, which led to a “deluge” of threats. It also led to the imposition of a gag order, which was reimposed yesterday by a state appeals court panel.

The judge and his clerk were not, however, the former president’s only targets: Trump has also gone after Engoron’s wife.

In fact, as recently as two days ago, the Republican published five missives in four minutes, each of which condemned the judge’s spouse over her alleged social media activities. A day later, Trump kept the offensive going, publishing three more items to his platform — over the course of just three minutes — targeting Engoron’s wife.

The former president’s argument is relatively straightforward: He argued that he’d found a series of anti-Trump messages the judge’s spouse published to the platform formerly known as Twitter. This, according to the Republican, was proof of ... something.

Evidently, the public is supposed to believe that if Engoron’s wife hates Trump, then Engoron cannot be trusted to fairly oversee the civil trial scrutinizing the Trump Organization. That’s not an inherently easy sell: Judicial spouses are allowed to express political opinions. If Republicans have any questions about this, I might refer them to Ginny Thomas.

But as it turns out, there’s an even more foundational problem. NBC News reported:

Al Baker, a spokesman for the state court system, said, “Justice Engoron’s wife has sent no social media posts regarding the former president. They are not hers.”

The jurist’s spouse also said in a statement to Newsweek, “I do not have a Twitter account. This is not me. I have not posted any anti-Trump messages.”

In other words, Trump attacked a judge’s wife, accusing her of publishing political content to social media, and if the denials are accurate, the content wasn’t even hers.

That said, the newly reimposed gag order does not extend to Engoron’s wife, and it remains to be seen whether the former president will continue to go after her anyway.

Update: As if on cue, Trump went after the judge's wife again this afternoon.

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