Fact Check

Judge Barred Trump from Attending His Son Barron's High School Graduation?

Defendants in criminal trials are generally required to appear in court in person.

Published April 16, 2024

 (Getty Images)
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Judge Juan Merchan barred Donald Trump from attending his son Barron's graduation in May 2024.

Trump's lawyers submitted a request to the judge asking if the former president could attend his son's graduation. Merchan has not made an official ruling on the request. Therefore, Trump may still be able to attend his son's graduation.

High school graduation is a special occasion, and it would be a shame to miss it. That's why on April 15, 2024, the first day of his New York criminal trial over allegedly falsified business records and purported hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, former President Donald Trump posted on his social media site Truth Social that the judge would not let him attend his son Barron's high school graduation.

(Truth Social user @realDonaldTrump)

The post began:

Who will explain for me, to my wonderful son, Barron, who is a GREAT Student at a fantastic School, that his Dad will likely not be allowed to attend his Graduation Ceremony, something that we have been talking about for years, because a seriously Conflicted and Corrupt New York State Judge wants me in Criminal Court on a bogus "Biden Case" which, according to virtually all Legal Scholars and Pundits, has no merit, and should NEVER have been brought. 

But, at the time of this writing, that wasn't true — Trump has not been banned from attending his son's high school graduation.

Defendants in criminal trials are generally required to appear in court in person. Trump's attorneys submitted two requests to Judge Juan Merchan asking to excuse the former president from appearing because of scheduling conflicts.

One of those was for April 25, 2024, when the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal from Trump about whether he can officially be charged for criminal actions taken while he was president. Trump wished to appear at the Supreme Court, but Merchan rejected the request. Trump complained about Merchan's decision in a separate Truth Social post, writing that it showed "such great disdain and disrespect for our Nation's Highest Court."

(Truth Social user @realDonaldTrump)

As for Barron's high school graduation, on May 17, 2024, Merchan didn't officially decide one way or another. Multiple media outlets wrote that Merchan said it was too early to decide either way, and that his decision could rest on whether the trial proceeded on schedule. 

Trump's allies, such as Kari Lake, the Republican Senate candidate from Arizona, ignored the fact that Merchan had not decided when they posted on social media supporting the former president.


Bushard, Brian. "Trump Claims Hush Money Judge Won't Let Him Attend Son's Graduation—But Judge Hasn't Ruled Yet." Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2024/04/16/trump-claims-hush-money-judge-wont-let-him-attend-sons-graduation-but-judge-hasnt-ruled-yet/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

CNN, By Kara Scannell, Jeremy Herb, Maureen Chowdhury, Kaanita Iyer, Aditi Sangal and Elise Hammond. "Fact Check: Trump Falsely Claims Judge Won't Let Him Attend Son's High School Graduation next Month." CNN, 15 Apr. 2024, https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-hush-money-trial-04-15-24/h_97b70ae3f8097c6d8511dd1595cd535d.

"Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)." Truth Social, https://truthsocial.com/@realDonaldTrump/112277727022231642. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

"---." Truth Social, https://truthsocial.com/@realDonaldTrump/112277423663686687. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

"Https://Twitter.Com/KariLake/Status/1780022085181681938." X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/KariLake/status/1780022085181681938. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Italiano, Natalie Musumeci, Jacob Shamsian, Laura. "Trump May Miss His Son Barron's High School Graduation Because He'll Be on Trial over Hush Money Payments to a Porn Star." Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-barron-high-school-graduation-hush-money-trial-2024-4. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Norton, Tom. "Fact Check: Is Donald Trump Barred from Barron's Graduation?" Newsweek, 16 Apr. 2024, https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-donald-trump-barred-barrons-graduation-1890711.

"Supreme Court Takes up Trump Immunity Appeal." SCOTUSblog, 28 Feb. 2024, https://www.scotusblog.com/2024/02/supreme-court-takes-up-trump-immunity-appeal/.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.