Will Americans still vote for Trump? Expats in UAE share thoughts on guilty verdict

A 12-member New York jury convicted him for falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence an adult film star ahead of the 2016 US election

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Angel Tesorero

/

Nandini Sircar

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Sat 1 Jun 2024, 3:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 1 Jun 2024, 9:59 PM

The guilty verdict on former US president Donald Trump will play a pivotal role and possibly keep him from winning back the White House from current President Joe Biden, UAE-based American expats told Khaleej Times.

A 12-member New York jury found Trump guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence an adult film star ahead of the 2016 US election. Trump was found guilty on all 34 felony counts he faced.


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American expat and Dubai resident A. Nichols will not be voting for Trump. She believes the guilty verdict on Trump has cast a cloud of doubt over his political comeback. “The verdict was already a strong indictment ahead of the November US presidential elections of Trump, who – in the eyes of the voters, not just the law – became the first former US president to be convicted of a crime.”


Naeema Zaki, a teacher at an American school who lives in Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times: “Trump's guilty verdict will significantly influence the upcoming presidential election.”

Naeema Zaki
Naeema Zaki

Zaki, however, is careful not to put Trump out of the political equation as the guilty verdict does not prevent him from campaigning for another term.

When asked if Trump will lose in the elections, Zaki said: “I wanted to say yes, but unfortunately, with everything unfolding in the world, the answer is just not that simple anymore.

Loyal supporters

“Trump supporters tend to be very loyal, so this might not impact their vote as much as we might expect. On the other hand, other voters may focus more on how candidates plan to address pressing issues. Currently, international and national issues add layers of complexity. The conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine continue to escalate, impacting global politics and economics,” Zaki noted.

“Meanwhile, in the US, debates over immigration, healthcare, and economic stability remain heated and unresolved. Recent mass shootings and ongoing political polarisation further complicate the US political landscape,” she added.

Zaki said the decision of voters “will ultimately come down to how candidates promise to address the pressing issues and not the usual Democratic-Republican divide.

“I believe that the election will not hinge solely on Trump's legal troubles but also on the broader context of current events,” she underscored.

‘Not above the law’

Molly Brown, another American teacher, said: “I think it’s ridiculous that Trump could still run for president. He is a convicted criminal but can still run for office? But I hope this sets a new precedent that even if you’re a president - Democrat or Republican – you aren’t above the law.”

Molly Brown
Molly Brown

Some American expats, however, “have misgivings that the guilty verdict will only make Trump more popular.”

“Trump has been playing his card so well that he is being targeted and mistreated. He is appealing to the voters’ emotions and harping on the guilty verdict as a de facto elimination of a political opponent. This is his trump card that will play to his advantage,” noted Dubai resident M. Reynolds.

Rabble-rouser

Another Dubai resident, A. Johnson, however, sees Trump now as nothing but a rabble-rouser. He said: “I believe voters will be smart enough to see through his lies. The fact that he tried to cover up something and he was found guilty makes him not qualified to gain the public trust.”

“Justice has been served and Trump must be held accountable,” he added.

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