OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump has responded following what many saw as an inappropriately casual greeting by a federal judge when he appeared in a DC courtroom on Thursday to answer new charges filed against him by special counsel Jack Smith.
According to reports, Trump was “irked” by U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya’s addressing him in court as “Mr. Trump” rather than “President Trump.”
According to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Trump “was, quote, ‘pissed off,’ according to someone who spoke to him. I’m learning tonight that Trump left here in a sour and dejected mood.”
“I am told that the former president, one thing that irked him particularly, was during that hearing today that lasted about 27 minutes, was when the magistrate judge referred to him as simply ‘Mr. Trump,'” Collins continued. “That may not sound odd to anyone else, but he is still referred to by his former title ‘President Trump’ when he’s at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey, as he is tonight, or at Mar-a-Lago.”
In addition, according to reports, Trump was upset that the judge got to the court hearing around 20 minutes late.
Trump pleaded not guilty to all four federal charges stemming from special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into 2020 election interference and the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021, Fox News reported.
The former president addressed reporters at the airport before heading back to his Bedminster, N.J., gold resort.
“When you look at what’s happening, this is a persecution of a political opponent. This was never supposed to happen in America. This is the persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot,” he said.
“So if you can’t beat him, you persecute them, or you prosecute him. We can’t let this happen in America,” Trump added before walking away without taking any questions.
Later, though, Trump took to his Truth Social page, posting: “CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT I HAD TO FLY TO A FILTHY, DIRTY, FALLING APART, & VERY UNSAFE WASHINGTON, D.C., TODAY, & THAT I WAS THEN ARRESTED BY MY POLITICAL OPPONENT, WHO IS LOSING BADLY TO ME IN THE POLLS, CROOKED JOE BIDEN, IT WAS A VERY GOOD DAY!”
The casual greeting led some observers and journalists to speculate whether Trump would be bothered by not being referred to as “Mr. President.”
“If there is one thing I know Trump loves that he’s called Mr. President now,” tweeted ABC Executive Editorial Producer John Santucci.
Left-wing commentator Victor Shi wrote: “No mention of Donald Trump being former president. No special treatment. Treating him as just another man in a Courtroom. This is the rule of law at its best.”
But others chided the judge for the lack of respect. “Every other president would have been addressed as ‘President’ not ‘Mr.’… Let’s be real,” tweeted Daily Caller’s chief national correspondent Henry Rodgers.
On the other hand, some users pointed to etiquette guides that indicate the judge may have been adhering to protocol in this situation. According to these guides, the title “Mr. President” is typically reserved for formal settings and for the incumbent holder of the office, Fox News reported.
U.S. District Tanya Chutkan will preside over the actual trial. Upadhaya said that Chutkan plans to set a trial date of Aug. 28.
Chutkan, an Obama appointee, has been called “the toughest punisher” of Jan. 6 rioters, but she has a nefarious past in addition to that distinction. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, she also once worked for a law firm that was associated with Hunter Biden.
The outlet noted that last year, a fawning profile of Chutkan by The Associated Press noted: “Chutkan has handed out tougher sentences than the Justice Department was seeking in seven cases, matched its requests in four others and sent all 11 riot defendants who have come before her behind bars.”