On the historic day of the arrest and arraignment of a former U.S. president on criminal charges, a circus-like atmosphere emerged outside the Manhattan courthouse Tuesday. Two of the most controversial members of Congress couldn't resist the opportunity to appear in front of a crush of journalists and anti-Trump protesters.
While helicopters circled overhead and networks carried live coverage of every move between Trump Tower in midtown and the lower Manhattan courthouse, a few familiar faces joined the scrum of reporters waiting for former president Donald J. Trump to be arraigned.
The gay fabulist and New York Rep. George Santos made brief appearances outside the Manhattan courthouse ahead of former President Trump's arraignment Tuesday morning. Also before Trump's arrival, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the outspoken transphobe from Georgia, made a brief appearance outside the courthouse.
Reporters angled to ask the two flame-throwing lawmakers questions, none of which were germane to the situation or of importance.
As he walked around the perimeter of the building, Santos wore a gray suit, white shirt, and designer sunglasses, video of the scene shows.
When a reporter asked him whether a president is above the law, Santos replied, "No. But is this DA going to start criminalizing criminals?"
In addition to the House Ethics Committee, Santos is under investigation by several local New York prosecutors and a prosecutor in Brazil.
"Where's Hunter Biden's indictment? Two years of a laptop full of treasure trove of crime," he added.
"If the former president committed a crime, should he be held accountable, though?" a reporter asked.
"This is not that crime though, no," said Santos. "This is old news."
Social media mocked the video of Greene inserting herself into the scene.
One video shows Greene escorted by a staff member, a uniformed NYPD officer, and what appears to be private security services through a crowd of reporters and onlookers.
As reported by NBC News, she may not have realized how unwelcome she would be at the courthouse, as she later retreated into her SUV after facing jeers.
When Greene tried to speak using a bullhorn, demonstrators blew whistles, drowning her out.
As it turned out, NBC News' Ben Collins discovered that a Trump supporter had distributed the whistles.
A short while after Greene and Santos left, Trump’s motorcade arrived, and the former president surrendered himself to the Manhattan District Attorney.
The indictment, unsealed after Trump’s court appearance, alleges that Trump suppressed negative news to conceal his affairs with women before the 2016 election. In the scheme, he allegedly paid Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model and adult film actress Stormy Daniels to remain silent about their trysts through his attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen went to prison for his role in the scheme.
Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney, will prosecute Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.
Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges before returning to his motorcade. It took him to his private jet back to Florida, where he will have a prime-time speech Tuesday evening from Mar-a-Lago.