With the world still fuming over Donald Trump’s racist “shithole” comments about Haiti, El Salvador, and the countries of Africa, the president, his handlers, and his political party have yet another scandal to deal with.
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump Organization’s long–term lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to cover up an alleged paid sexual encounter Trump had with her at a 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. According to the report, the payment was arranged just a month before the 2016 elections.
In another report that provided more background, The Daily Beast said it had been in talks with Daniels at the time to interview her about her relationship with Trump—who had just married Melania the year before the alleged Lake Tahoe affair occurred. Three sources described Trump’s relationship with Daniels to The Daily Beast, including another porn star, Alana Evans.
Cohen issued a statement on Friday calling the allegations “rumors” and saying that Trump “vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.”
But there is nothing about this story that seems out of character for Trump or is difficult to believe. The details of the accusations make sense, given what we know about him. The same month that Cohen was (allegedly) arranging the hush money payment with Daniels’ lawyer, a third porn star, Jessica Drake, accused Trump of sexually assaulting her by kissing her without her permission (think Access Hollywood tape) and then offering $10,000 in exchange for sex.
Additionally, in November 2016, the Journal reported that the National Enquirer had agreed to pay $150,000 to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal to discuss her alleged 10–month affair with Trump in 2006–2007. The Enquirer never published her story.
Much worse than the accusations of Trump hiring porn stars for sexual services, 19 women already have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault and harassment. And these latest details come just a week before Trump’s one–year inaugural anniversary and ahead of his upcoming State of the Union Address later this month.
On Saturday, New York residents awoke to two tabloid newspaper covers showing the president not with the first lady, but rather with Daniels. The Daily News declared, “S#it Stormy,” while the New York Post announced, “Prez ‘paid off porn star.’” “It’s only been a year, folks,” the Post added.
Each new day seems to bring a new Trump scandal, yet so far, the Republican Party has staunchly defended the president, refusing to acknowledge the damage Trump has done to the credibility of the office and the country in general. There is no limit, it seems, to how low Trump’s bar can go.
But for a party that for so long has been enamored with the idea of claiming “family values” to push its oppressive social agenda against women and the LGBTQ community, there is nowhere left to turn. There is nothing that speaks to “family values” about any of this disgraceful news about Trump.
The Republicans know this, and they are going to have to own it—all of it—for the rest of their pathetic existence, however long that is.
November can’t come fast enough.