As 2024 GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump continues his bid to win a second term in the White House, he remains unable to fully make his case to voters due to multiple gag orders imposed by judges handling ongoing court cases against him.
In a federal trial related to his actions following the 2020 election, District Judge Tanya Chutkan recently implemented a temporary hold on the gag order as Trump’s defense team pursued an appeal. That decision sparked backlash from the office of special counsel Jack Smith, which called on Chutkan to reinstate the curtailment of Trump’s ability to address the situation publicly.
The judge did exactly that late Sunday, issuing a statement advising that the gag order would be reimposed, thus holding Trump to vague limitations on his constitutional right to free speech. Specifically, the order precludes him from “targeting” key figures in the trial, including Smith, court staff, witnesses and attorneys.
In a social media statement early Monday, the former president reacted harshly to the news.
“I have just learned that the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents,” he wrote on Truth Social.
His statement went on to cite “many legal scholars” who have spoken out against the gag order.
"Trump retains a First Amendment right to speak, and the rest of us retain a right to hear what he has to say."
The ACLU filed a court document blasting Judge Tanya Chutkan's gag order as unconstitutionally vague.
You know something is absurd when the Left loses the ACLU. pic.twitter.com/r05Cahu2h9
— Daniel Baldwin (@baldwin_daniel_) October 25, 2023
“It illegally and unconstitutionally takes away my First Amendment Right of Free Speech, in the middle of my campaign for President, where I am leading against BOTH Parties in the Polls,” Trump added.
Last month, Trump’s attorneys made the case that the prosecution’s request for a gag order represents a “desperate effort at censorship” in a letter calling on Chutkan to recuse herself from the case.
“The prosecution may not like President Trump’s entirely valid criticisms, but neither it nor this Court are the filter for what the public may hear,” the defense team wrote. “If the prosecution wishes to avoid criticism for abusing its power, the solution is simple: stop abusing its power. The Constitution allows no alternative.”