The way the U.S. magistrate judge addressed former President Donald Trump during his Thursday arraignment on additional charges in her federal courtroom in Washington, D.C., has gone viral on social media.
Upon entering the courtroom to oversee the proceedings, U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhaya addressed the former president as “Mr. Trump.”
According to Fox News, Trump entered a not guilty plea to all four federal charges related to the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021 and the interference in the 2020 presidential election by special counsel Jack Smith.
The informal welcome sparked speculation among some observers and journalists about whether Trump would object to not being addressed 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.
Victor Shi, a leftist analyst, said: “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.”
Others, though, chastised the judge for his lack of deference. “Every other president would have been addressed as ‘President’ not ‘Mr.’… Let’s be real,” Henry Rodgers, the top national correspondent for the Daily Caller, tweeted.
However, numerous people cited etiquette manuals as evidence that the judge might have been following protocol in this case. The phrase “Mr. President” is typically reserved for formal settings and for the incumbent holder of the office, Fox News reported.
Collins: I am told that one thing that irked him particularly was during that hearing today when the magistrate judge referred to him as simply Mr. Trump pic.twitter.com/XPqoy8Wki8
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 4, 2023
The trial itself will be presided over by U.S. District Tanya Chutkan. According to Upadhaya, Chutkan intends to schedule the trial for August 28.
Chutkan, an Obama appointment, has earned the title of “the toughest punisher” of Jan. 6 rioters, but she also has a sketchy record. Additionally, she reportedly worked for a law company connected to Hunter Biden, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
The publication pointed out that Chutkan was the subject of a glowing story by The Associated Press last year, which stated: “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.”
According to the article, which was published under the headline “In Jan. 6 cases, 1 judge stands out as the toughest punisher,” Chutkan sentenced people to between 14 and 45 days in jail in four of the cases.
Chutkan also imprisoned “an Ohio couple who climbed through a broken window of the U.S. Capitol” despite the fact that the prosecution was not seeking it.
A Texas mortgage broker who “took a selfie in front of rioters breaking into the building” and an Indiana hair salon owner who “celebrated on Facebook a day after she joined the pro-Donald Trump mob” are among those facing charges for their involvement in the disturbance, according to the AP.
The Daily Mail added the following:
Chutkan had worked at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner from 2002 until she was confirmed a federal judge in 2014.
Boies Schiller has strong connections to the Democratic Party and then-second son Hunter Biden — whose dad President Biden is likely to face Trump in the 2024 election — was of counsel at the firm from 2009 to 2014.
It is not known if the two ever had any interaction while working there.
Late on Tuesday, four accusations against Trump were announced: making false statements, conspiring to obstruct justice, and deliberate retention of national security information. According to the Daily Mail, the former president, who is 76 years old, faces a maximum penalty of 55 years in prison, which is essentially a life sentence.
Additionally, “Trump is already facing 40 federal charges in Florida relating to his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving office, and is due to stand trial in New York next year accused of falsifying business documents after making a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels,” according to the outlet.