Former President Donald Trump was widely mocked after he said he is "willing to go a jail" after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a gag order on him for repeatedly attacking her and federal prosecutors and falsely accusing them of working at President Joe Biden's behest.
Previously, Trump had said on his social media platform Truth Social that he would “appeal” the gag order ruling, referring to it as a "witch hunt." He made this claim in spite of analysis from legal experts who've said his efforts would prove unsuccessful.
And the evening he made his bold assertion, he cast himself as a freedom fighter in remarks to his supporters during a rambling speech that largely rehashed his blatant lies that the 2020 general election was stolen from him.
You can hear what Trump said in the video below.
“They think the only way they can catch me is to stop me from speaking. They want to take away my voice and a judge gave a gag order today."
"Did you hear that? On speech, which I believe is totally unconstitutional what she did. A judge gave a gag order, a judge doesn’t like me too much.”
Trump then accused Chutkan of trying to silence him because he is supposedly faring well in the polls. Despite his claims, most polls depict a close race between Trump and Biden.
His statements also conveniently ignore that during the hearing, Chutkan explicitly stated that the gag order does not prohibit Trump from criticizing Biden or his political opponents, but rather aims to control public statements about the election interference case.
He then made his boldest statement yet, asserting he'd willingly "go to jail" to protect American democracy:
“You know what a gag order is? You can’t speak badly about your opponent. But this is weaponry all being done because Joe Biden is losing the election and losing very, very badly to all of us in the polls. He’s losing badly."
"But what they don't understand is that I am willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes for our country to win and become a democracy again."
If Trump thought his words would gain him sympathy he was wrong because many online had the same idea after hearing Trump's words.
In response to the gag order, Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller decried the decision as an "absolute abomination" and asserted that Biden "was granted the right to muzzle his political opponent."
Chutkan's order stressed that "First Amendment protections yield to the administration of justice and to the protection of witnesses" and said Trump's status as a 2024 presidential candidate "does not give him carte blanche to vilify … public servants who are simply doing their job.”
The order raises the possibility that Trump might encounter consequences, including limitations on his use of social media, and even the potential for pretrial detention if he persists in launching public criticisms against Special Counsel Jack Smith and his legal team, or probable witnesses expected to appear in his trial scheduled for March.
This marks the second instance in as many weeks where a judge has attempted to curb Trump's verbal attacks. In a recent ongoing civil trial in New York concerning alleged business misconduct involving Trump and his enterprises, a Manhattan judge imposed a restricted gag order after Trump launched a verbal attack against the judge's chief clerk.