Thursday, March 29, 2018

Daniels, McDougal and Trump: The Hype That Wasn't

Stephanie Clifford, an adult film star and stripper with the stage name of Stormy Daniels, alleged that she had at least one sexual encounter with President Donald Trump twelve years ago. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate and Trump voter, said that she had a longer running affair with Trump roughly around the same time. To great hype Daniels told her story on the CBS show 60 Minutes this past weekend. Other than noticing that Daniels had apparently taken some sort of substance which dilated her pupils, learning that in certain circumstances Trump doesn't mind being spanked with rolled up magazines, and thinks comparing his younger paramours to his daughter Ivanka is a high compliment, I didn't think there was much surprising, interesting or newsworthy in Daniels' revelations.

And the same is true of any information revealed with McDougal's CNN interview. Trump allegedly tried to give McDougal money after they had done the do. She refused it but apparently took some money as part of a non-disclosure agreement. Daniels also took money, at least $130,000, as part of a non-disclosure agreement set up and executed by one of Trump's lawyers, Michael Cohen. Some people claim that the payment of such money may have violated campaign finance laws but who knows?

Because both women are speaking out I wonder what was the point of Trump or any of his people paying them hush money in the first place but I'm no lawyer. When I write that there was nothing of news value I mean that so far neither woman has alleged non-consensual or illegal activity, or violence by Trump. Daniels claimed to have not wanted to have sex with Trump but did so of her own free will anyway. She said that Trump was holding out an offer of an appearance on The Apprentice as an incentive.

Both the people who voted for Trump and those who made other choices already know that Trump is a man with poor impulse control who has more loyalty to his favorite body part than he does to whichever woman he currently calls wife. We shouldn't be surprised that people who voted for Trump factored his sliminess into their decision and still support him. Trump's support is at the highest in almost a year. It's going to take more than revelations of adultery to get Trump.

It's certainly true that if President Obama had been cavorting with women not his wife, getting spanked, and calling his daughter Malia a hot piece of a$$, Republicans would have had an ever so slightly different response but who told you life is fair? As long as Trump expresses animus towards the people and ideas they dislike Republicans will look the other way at alleged infidelities. And Democrats are in no position to point fingers at men who seek fun outside the confines of their marriage. So it goes. So far Trump has not tweeted anything about Daniels. Is that because Trump knows if he does she will spank him again?
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