This isn’t rocket science. Once a person is elected President of the United States, the days of banging porn stars and sweeping it under the rug are over. Donald Trump can’t seem to get that through his small mind. A president isn’t just accountable to himself for his actions and moral failings, but also accountable to the American people. It’s “our” business, and the free press has a constitutional right to pursue the chief executive and bring his misdeeds to light for public review. That’s the deal.
Trump thinks he can still operate like a New York playboy, where any news is good news, and sexual conquests are to be worn like badges of honor. Bless his heart. The Donald has the sense God gave a door knob. His reputation as a cad is well established, but instead of simply having a wife he is cheating on, now he disrespects the office of the First Lady. America is watching, and fatigue is setting in from the inability of this president to do his job and regarding his embarrassing conduct.
After a year-plus of his unhinged and chaotic management style, we’ve seen the Trump playbook of launching preemptive scandals to remove damaging headlines from the front pages.
Just this month Trump’s unprepared remarks on gun control measures after the Parkland shooting were met by gasps from Republicans, as they ran counter to the NRA’s stance and to those of responsible gun owners. To distract The Donald announced a batch of tariffs on American steel and aluminum to throw a tizzy into the economic world.
This caught his administration and cabinet agencies by surprise, costing Trump his top White House economic mind in Gary Cohn, who resigned over the brain-dead move. The collateral damage from this tariff announcement was a necessary evil to make the story sensational enough to hijack several news cycles and wipe away his ill-prepared statement on guns — and it worked.
Unique to Trump’s switcheroo strategy is the Stormy Daniels affair. This originally broke in January over the $130,000 non-disclosure payment made by Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Under any normal administration a president having slept with a hardcore porn starlet would be wall-to-wall coverage, but it didn’t catch on immediately. Likely because Trump already was seen as a scum bag and plenty of other scandal carnage was going on simultaneously.
Yet the story never went away either. Daniels was out making headlines and cash off high-dollar appearances at strip clubs around the country on her self-proclaimed “Make America Horny Again” tour. She seemed poised to speak about the affair before something re-affirmed her silence.
The leverage on this story tipped when Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed her own lawsuit claiming the non-disclosure agreement was invalid. This filing brought forth several tidbits of bizarre information, such as President Trump using the fake name “David Dennison” to help hide his identity, and that Mr. Dennison never signed the agreement. It also was divulged by Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, that the porn star was threatened with physical violence by Trump’s people.
In a brazen move, Trump’s legal team boasted Daniels violated her non-disclosure agreement several times and was liable for some $20 million in damages, a dollar amount requisite to petition moving the lawsuit from state court to the federal level. Certainly this is a more advantageous venue for Trump, and at the federal level the particulars that Daniels alleges can be better hidden by Trump’s team behind closed-door proceedings of an arbitration hearing. But in so doing, it made public that Trump was involved with Daniels, and that he had knowledge of the hush money she was paid.
Cohen can argue all he wants about supposedly paying Clifford out-of-pocket. He misses the point. This isn’t about adultery or the campaign finance law the payment possibly violates. Stormy Daniels is a problem because she represents the systematic method Trump willfully engages in to silence misdeeds, his misdeeds, whether it’s cheating on his wives, failed business ventures or attempts to prevent staffers from leaking his abhorrent behavior inside the White House.
It goes to the question of judgment. Donald Trump’s unstable decision making and how he chooses to handle his affairs are no longer his alone. The American people and Congress are now party to his lawsuits, Twitter rants and who is hired and fired.
Consider Trump’s staff and the questionable individuals he has placed into sensitive positions. Rob Porter, White House Staff Secretary, was credibly accused by two ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse, along with a girlfriend who alerted the White House about his “anger problems.” Porter was forced to resign after not being able to pass a security clearance.
Porter’s girlfriend at the time was the White House Communications Director, Hope Hicks, who shares a likeness to Porter’s second wife, also “resigned” after compromising herself by trying to spin an official White House message of support for Porter, while still being romantically involved with the disgraced staffer.
Speechwriter David Sorensen, resigned amid allegations from ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, that he ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine’s coast, leaving her fearing for her life. Shockingly, Sorensen was having problems passing his background check.
Then we have John McEntee, Trump’s longtime personal aide, who was abruptly fired for issues involving gambling addiction and is under investigation by the Secret Service for serious financial crimes. McEntee also was unable to obtain a security clearance.
What happened to Trump’s promise of surrounding himself with the best people available? Like Jared Kushner who also can’t get a security clearance. Add into this mix Corey Lewandowski and Steve Bannon, who have their own issues of female abuse among other possible charges. And let’s not forget the numerous ex-Trump staffers currently under indictment, several of which have pled “guilty” to federal crimes.
I understand a few bad apples getting through, but with this administration it’s a few good ones that got hired (and Trump fires those). The remainder is a horribly flawed grouping, or worse, criminals, abusers and quite possibly traitors. This goes to Trump’s problem of judgment.
It’s getting really difficult to figure out what it is that prevents Trump voters from seeing what a piece of trash they voted into office. I suppose voter remorse is a bitch. It must sting the Trump faithful to look inward and confront the legitimate possibility they may have placed a compromised candidate into office who is sympathizing with a hostile foreign government.
As the Russia allegations get sussed out by Mr. Mueller, America gets not one but two chances to watch former Trump mistresses tell their stories this week. Thursday on CNN former Playboy model Karen McDougal told Anderson Cooper convincingly about her lengthy affair with President Trump. She was paid $150,000 through third-party, American Media Inc., “The National Enquirer’s” parent company, for the rights to her story and then purposely shelved it, holding hostage the truth and hindering McDougal’s career.
Sunday, it’s Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels’ turn to detail her relationship with Trump and the actions taken to silence her. This is likely to draw record viewership on “60 Minutes.” The question remains will it be allowed to air, or will the president and his henchmen stop it.