The following extract is from UStoday site:

Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told NBC's "Today" show on Friday that Trump was initially "shocked" when notified of the grand jury's action late Thursday. But the 76-year-old Trump "put a notch on his belt" and vowed to challenge the criminal case, Tacopina said.

Trump’s lawyer appears to say that his indictment will eventually turn to his advantage. If so, in what sense did Trump put a notch on his belt?

  • 3
    better suited on english stackexchange than politics
    – whoisit
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 6:11
  • 1
    possibly, but it also got closed there. Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 7:18
  • Mostly I, like others, will guess that it means Trump's lawyer said Trump performed well. What else did you expect Trump's lawyer to say? Also, if you have to ask a question like this, please link to the actual video, with a timestamp (x minutes in) so that we can actually try to understand the context rather than just doing the English comprehension bit. No downvote, but voting to close. Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 7:21
  • 1
    Not sure if this should be closed as there is a factual answer and this is about politics (though ordinary day to day politics of posturing, and not a particular political process which the questioner perhaps thought was being referred).
    – sfxedit
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 9:44
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica - it is now open.
    – user 66974
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 20:56

2 Answers 2


"Adding a notch to one's belt" is a way of tallying things, hearkening to the days of the Old West when gunslingers would keep track of the men they killed by notching their belt. Here, Trump is metaphorically tallying yet another of many attempts to hold him to accountability, which he plans to defeat. The main connotation is that this is "yet another" attempt to bring him down, in a long line of things like his impeachments, the Steele dossier, Mueller report, and so forth, all of which he has managed to rise above so far.

I find the use of the phrase here a little odd, since one would normally notch their belt at the moment of triumph when the accomplishment is completed, not when beginning a challenge that they might lose.

  • 4
    On the other hand, it is entirely his style to declare victory the moment he decides he's going to try to become victorious. He does it with pretty much everything. Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 0:16

The answer is right there in the next sentence of your quoted text:

“President Trump will not take a plea deal in this case. It’s not going to happen. There’s no crime,” Tacopina said.

This implies (or is trying to imply) that Trump's "enemies" thought he would cope out with a quick plea deal to end the matter quickly, but by not doing so he is telling the world that he is not only ready for yet another fight but will also not spare his "enemies" in the future (see @nuclear-hoagies's answer here to learn what "adding a notch to one's belt" means in the western cowboy context). This is typical Trump political bravado and is usual in US politics.

  • I don't think anyone expected any sort of plea deal from trump on this (or any case)
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 23:40
  • @JoeW No idea about that. But the US public, thanks to its media, is well aware that deals are one way the US judicial system works. And the political bravado in publicly claiming that he isn't taking any "deal" (that may or may not exist) is to convey to the public an impression that he is innocent (and that is why he is willing to "fight" it out in the court to "prove" it).
    – sfxedit
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 0:47
  • While that is true that doesn't mean that anyone had any expectations of any sort of plea deal from this case and it would be anything but a fight to get it even brought to trial.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 1:40
  • @JoeW We do not know and the facts don't matter really - the statement was meant to create a particular impression among his supporters. Politicians lie and exaggerate all the time. This is a good example of it - look at the imagery he creates of Trump as a good cowboy fighting the baddies. :)
    – sfxedit
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 2:15
  • We don't need to know the facts of that case to know that Trump is a person who is very unlikely in a case like this to make a please deal.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 13:21

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