- Russian state media personalities took jabs at Trump following his Tuesday arrest and arraignment.
- In one broadcast, AI images of Trump wearing orange jumpsuits appeared to dance to “Jailhouse Rock.”
- Still, other Russian commentators continued to vehemently defend the 2024 Republican hopeful.
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Former President Donald Trump’s arrest and arraignment in Manhattan on Tuesday dictated media coverage and commentary around the globe, making front-page headlines not only in the US, but across Europe and South America, as well.
The extreme reactions to Trump’s legal troubles were especially prominent in Russia, where even President Vladimir Putin’s state media cronies — who once considered Trump to be a sort of folk hero they hoped would benefit their own national interests — couldn’t help but add to the international pile-on of the newfound criminal defendant.
Trump was indicted Tuesday on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to a $130,000 hush-money payment to adult firm star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. He has denied having an affair with Daniels.
Russian media’s fascination with the case preempted Trump’s eventual arraignment. On Friday evening, the Russian political talk show “60 Minutes” broadcast an AI-generated image of the former president sitting in court wearing an orange suit while the show’s panelists discussed the upcoming proceedings.
“This is an important factor, because it says that in general, you can go after former presidents. In the past they were always thought to have immunity,” Dmitry Abzalov, director of the Center for Strategic Communications, said in a clip of the broadcast, according to Insider translations.
The Russian state media response to Trump’s indictment was first reported on by The Daily Beast and columnist Julia Davis, who created the Russian Media Monitor to combat Russian propaganda.
Two days later, on “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,” host and longtime Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov discussed Trump’s chances of winning the White House in 2024 after his brush with the law, joking that perhaps the former president would seek asylum in Russia as a result of his myriad legal troubles, according to the Beast.
But Andrey Sidorov, deputy dean of world politics at Moscow State University expressed disdain at the idea of a Trump flight to Russia, the Beast reported, echoing frustrations among other state talking heads who have lamented Trump’s seeming inability to start an American Civil War: “I am quite disappointed with Donald. He disappointed me back on January 6, 2021,” Sidorov said, per the outlet.
But the real Russian theatrics were saved for Tuesday following Trump’s arraignment. In a “60 Minutes” segment that must be seen to be believed, several AI versions of Trump dressed in various orange outfits were projected dancing and singing “Jailhouse Rock.”
Co-host Olga Skabeeva gleefully acknowledged in Russian that “Trump may change into an orange prison suit,” adding: “We’re getting lots of popcorn and waiting.”
Still, even amid the mocking tone of some commentators, many others continued to vehemently defend the 2024 presidential candidate, who has said he would oppose additional aid to Ukraine should he be elected, suggesting Trump’s indictment was the political workings of Democrats aiming to ruin his chance at the White House.
Sergei Markov, a former advisor to Putin, even said on “60 Minutes” that he specifically donned a red tie — which appears decidedly pink in clips of the video — to support Trump and his Republican base.
Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov