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2 Missouri lawmakers have shown up at the Trump trial in New York. Here's why

Daniel Desrochers, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — Rep. Eric Burlison wasn’t expected back in Congress until Tuesday. His wife and kids were flying to visit family.

So on a Sunday night, he took a late flight from Missouri to New York City, arrived after midnight, donned his navy suit and red tie so he could stand behind President Donald Trump as he stands trial over whether the former president illegally concealed hush money payments to salvage his 2016 presidential bid.

“I wanted to go there because it is an historic moment and also, I wanted to show moral support to a guy that deserves it,” Burlison told The Star. “I mean, look, a lot of people who have my same political view, a lot of conservatives see him as their fighter.”

“He’s the one taking the punches for us,” he said.

Burlison, who represents the area around Springfield, was the first Missourian in Congress to make the trip. The next day, Sen. Eric Schmitt made the trip – also wearing a navy suit and red tie – and caught the end of the testimony for the final witness in the case.

They joined the daily drumbeat of Republican politicians and Trump hangers-on who have traveled to New York to join the former president in court – and then stand behind him as he speaks to reporters when he leaves the courtroom.


Many Republicans appear eager to put their work aside to support the leader of their party. House Speaker Mike Johnson and potential Trump vice presidential picks like Sens. J.D. Vance and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum have all made the pilgrimage – a demonstration of the party’s unwavering commitment to Trump despite a litany of felony charges.

While Trump could potentially face four felony trials – a case in Georgia about election interference, a case in Washington about election interference and a case in Florida about his refusal to hand over classified documents to the National Archives – the trial in New York may be the only one before Election Day.

Schmitt was willing to miss two Senate votes Tuesday during his few hours in New York – both related to the confirmation of a U.S. District Court judge in Arizona. His absence, coupled with Sen. Josh Hawley’s absence due to an illness – meant that Missouri had no representation in those votes.

“I felt compelled to go, to show him some support,” Schmitt said. “And then also, as a former prosecutor, Attorney General, I just think the lawfare is very dangerous. So I wanted to go and see it myself and be a witness.”


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