Rachel Maddow, MSNBC Anchors Laugh it Up Over ‘Sleepy’ Trump at Trial


MSNBC anchors had a field day with Donald Trump, who has long maligned his Democratic opponent in the presidential race as “Sleepy Joe,” appearing to fall asleep on just the first day of his criminal trial in New York on Monday, with one commenting that in light of his attacks against Joe Biden, he failed at his “one job” during the 2024 campaign.

Trump’s lethargic presence, as observed by a Daily Beast reporter and others in the courtroom, spurred “#SleepyDon” to trend on X, formerly Twitter. The Trump campaign responded by vehemently denying that the former president was asleep. “This is 100% Fake News coming from ‘journalists’ who weren’t even in the court room,” the campaign falsely insisted in a statement to The Daily Beast.

Nevertheless, Trump’s courtroom activities—or lack thereof—were the subject of several observations on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow, for instance, drew off of an ancient yet often quoted saying.

“We did finally get here. The wheels of justice grind slowly. I did not think they would grind so slowly that they would rock the defendant apparently to sleep at the defense table today,” she quipped, with the added implication of Trump resembling an infant.

“I was not there. I do not know if he was asleep. It was possible he was, you know, meditating,” she continued, drawing another laugh from her colleagues.

“But those headlines…that Trump appeared to fall asleep on the first day of his trial—those are going to stick,” she said, emphasizing the relevancy of Trump’s attacks on Biden for his age. Trump, she added, is “fundamentally buffoonish,” and said this trial—and what transpired Monday—are a reminder of that.

Trump’s Hardest Fight May Be Staying Awake in Court

Chris Hayes, meanwhile, joked about Trump’s “sustained eye resting.”

“I mean, I feel like if you call your opponent ‘Sleepy Joe,’ you have one job for the rest of the campaign, which is like you have to Clockwork Orange those puppies open at all times,” he said.

Hayes then noted that viewers should take an interest in how Trump, who is “not a particularly emotionally regulated individual and doesn’t have the mastery of self-discipline,” responds to scenarios that he cannot control.

“I really can’t think of a thing that’s more nightmarish in some ways just for him at a personal level of like, you don’t have the stimulus and you are not getting ego bumps from some social media replies,” he said. You’ve got to sit and watch this day after day. I mean, this was day one. This is weeks and weeks of this. So at the most human level, I was just watching the reports today and thinking about just the sheer psychological torture.”

‘Perfect Storm’: A Sleep Expert Analyzes Trump’s Trial Nap

The New York trial regarding Trump’s alleged hush-money payments to pornstar Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election could last up to or beyond eight weeks. Trump’s presence is mandatory when the court is in session four days a week.

Prosecutors have charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records—all of them felonies—for allegedly misclassifying a campaign expense as a personal, legal expense to former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Following Hayes, MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace commented on how those in right-wing media would react if Monday’s situation were reversed and it was Biden in court.

“The entire crux of the campaign against Joe Biden…is about his feebleness, and Donald Trump fell asleep on the first day of his criminal trial,” she said matter-of-factly. “If the parties were flipped, that would be everywhere.”

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