Imagine a photo of Donald Trump in handcuffs: What could happen next?

SINGAPORE: Despite interest in how former United States President Donald Trump could be taken into custody over criminal charges he faces, the public is unlikely to get to see him led away in handcuffs, analysts said.

“He will be arrested and I think that they will make that effort, I’m sure they will, not to do things like put him in handcuffs,” said political scientist Charles Lipson from the University of Chicago.

“He’s already surrounded by Secret Service protection. There’s no chance he’s going to escape or do anything like that.”

Professor Emeritus Lipson was speaking to CNA’s Asia First hours after news broke on Friday of Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury, following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The former reality TV star turned president is expected to fly to New York to turn himself in early next week and be arraigned in court.

Trump has indicated that he wants to be photographed in handcuffs – and if he indeed is, the 2024 presidential hopeful will seize the opportunity to drive his message home, said Mr Steven Okun, senior advisor at McLarty Associates, which provides diplomatic solutions.

“He is going to use this to his advantage to try and once again become the Republican nominee for president for the third time in a row. And all indications are that this is going to help him do that because this is all anyone is going to be talking about,” Mr Okun told CNA938.

In this scenario, attention will be diverted away from his rivals in next year’s presidential race – Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley for instance – and any of their attempts to talk about geopolitical developments or domestic policy instead, he added.

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