Fair and Unbalanced

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Mike Littwin

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."

Littwin: Porn star Stormy Daniels’ story is not about the sex — believe me

Littwin: Porn star Stormy Daniels’ story is not about the sex — believe me

As I tuned in to “60 Minutes” to watch the Stormy Daniels interview, I swear it wasn’t about the sex. Look, I know the ratings were sex-driven because that’s how you get ratings. I’ll agree that no one watched the show hoping to hear Daniels’ views on, say, the march against gun violence.

But I promise you, the last image I ever want stuck in my head is one of Donald Trump in the adulterous sack.

My guess is many tuned in because they don’t know what else to do about Trump. Maybe the most amazing thing about the Trump presidency is that his historically low approval ratings are as high as they are. We can be pretty sure that the 35-40 percent of Americans who back Trump — who, remember, had all heard the pussy-grabbing Access Hollywood tape before voting for him — will never abandon him.

Not the Trumpists. Not the evangelicals, who don’t seem bothered by porn stars so long as it’s Trump bedding them. Not the Vichy Republicans in Congress, who seem unbothered that Trumpworld was paying hush money (in American money, not in rubles) in the run-up to the 2016 election.

In a CNN poll released Monday, 63 percent said they believed Trump’s accusers and only 21 percent believe Trump. Even a slight majority of white evangelicals believe the women. I mean, why would you pay women hush money if they didn’t actually have a story to tell?

But here’s the kicker to the poll: Despite all the White House chaos of the last week, and all the other weeks, Trump scored a 42 percent approval rating, the highest since his first 100 days in office.

So if you’re a confirmed anti-Trumpist, you figure he’ll never be impeached, he’ll probably never be indicted and it’s all too possible he could even be re-elected. By watching, though, you at least get to see Trump thoroughly humiliated on national TV. It’s something.

It’s hard to resist the story of a porn star and a president, even if he was just a reality-TV star at the time. And who didn’t enjoy Daniels’ story about slapping some POTUS butt with a rolled-up Fortune magazine featuring his image on the cover? That story is so good, and so Trumpian, you desperately hope it’s true.

But the story that stuck, the one the White House and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen rushed to deny, was the parking lot story. When Daniels first tried to tell her story in 2011, for a $15,000 payoff, Daniels said she was approached by someone in a Las Vegas parking lot, warning her to drop it.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’” Daniels told Anderson Cooper. “ And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.”

Daniels said she didn’t know who the guy was. There’s no corroboration. There’s no way to know if it was true. But if you believe Daniels’ story about Trump — and apparently most people do — you have to wonder why she would lie about the intimidation. If she’s telling her story to boost her career, which is a reasonable guess, I don’t see how the thug story helps.

What we do know is that, if it is true, it changes the dynamic entirely. It’s not Bill Clinton with an intern. It’s Harvey Weinstein.

The Trump White House rushed to say the parking lot confrontation never happened, but, of course, it’s the one part of the story that the White House can’t credibly deny. They could conceivably know if it had happened. They couldn’t possibly be sure that it hadn’t.

Meanwhile Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who claims he paid Daniels her $130,000 hush money out of his own pocket, has sent Daniels a cease-and-desist letter saying she accused him of sending the thug to the parking lot. Except she didn’t accuse anyone of sending him. The implication is clear enough, though, that it had to be someone from Trumpworld. And we know enough about Cohen — who, in another form of intimidation, is seeking $20 million from Daniels for breaking the hush-money agreement — to at least wonder.

If you didn’t see the interview, don’t worry. The story is not going away. There are lawsuits and countersuits in the Daniels case. And there are other women. There’s Summer Zervos — remember that name — who is suing Trump for defamation. She’s one of the women who accused Trump of “unwanted sexual touching” and whom Trump had called a liar. A New York judge has ruled the lawsuit can proceed.

And Daniels? Here’s the big tell. Trump, who likes to call himself the ultimate counter-puncher, has basically had nothing to say about her. Daniels came after Trump with left and rights, and Trump came back with…nothing, not even an insulting nickname. He also hasn’t tweeted about the accusations of a longstanding affair from Playboy model Karen McDougal.

This is obviously the White House strategy — for Trump simply not to respond to any and all such accusations. You know how hard that has to be for him and his Twitter finger. How long can he hold out? Well, if you’re thinking of an office pool, I would have said the day Trump re-hires Rob Porter (but The New York Times, remarkably, is reporting Trump is considering just that). So I’ll go with either the moment Robert Mueller decides to interview Michael Cohen or the day Daniels’ attorney locates the missing alleged Las Vegas thug.

Photo by ruperto miller via Flickr: Creative Commons

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About the Author

Mike Littwin

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
mlittwin@coloradoindependent.com | Twitter @mike_littwin

5 Comments

  1. Little Me on said:

    If Trump tweets anything about the Daniels situation, he may be destroying his last hope that the NDA he didn’t sign will accomplish anything.

    Alternatively, his pre-nup with Melania may include some interesting clauses about infidelity on either party’s part and what the monetary costs might be.

    Gonna be interesting, that’s for sure.

  2. TL on said:

    The trumpists and others are approving of him because the media, including NPR, are making him seem like the Toughlove hero vis-a-vis Iran, NK, Russia, and China…..and don’t murkins rally round the flagpole when they have hairy-chested arm-twisting leaders?

    As for the sex scandals….we need [the probably very-threatened] Melania to get her gullet full of this crap and leave him or tell all……. then that approval rating will go down.

  3. Don Lopez on said:

    Elections have consequences.

    “Hiding news that doesn’t fit an ideological or a partisan agenda is perhaps the worst form of media bias. And it’s one more reason the public holds the press is such low esteem.” – Investor’s Business Daily

    “(Mr. Trump) won’t be president. He was sliding in the polls before the video, and the video now means that he has no way to climb back. Which independent voter, which suburban woman, which Main Street Republican on the fence is going to vote for Trump now?” – Mike Littwin

    Magical thinking: The belief that one’s own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. It is common in very young children. – Radiotherapy

    President Trump 306 Electoral votes
    Hillary Clinton 232

    #droptheMike

    }{

    Hard to believe in a column targeting President Trump’s alleged infidelity with porn star Stormy Daniels, Mr. Littwin managed, incredibly, to mention Bill Clinton only once and even then tried to minimize Clinton’s serial philandering by suggesting if the allegations against President Trump prove to be true “it changes the dynamic entirely”. He didn’t detail what this “dynamic” was or how or why it would change entirely. More importantly, Mr. Littwin failed to explain how any actions taken by Trump prior to becoming president could possibly be more contemptible than the numerous transgressions Clinton committed while in office.

    It’s interesting to note Mr. Littwin felt the necessity to explain that while he did watch the Stormy Daniels 60 Minutes interview, “ it wasn’t about the sex. “ But it’s even more interesting to consider that in a weekend that included a massive anti-gun rally in Washington Mr. Littwin ignored that rally in favor of devoting a column to a television interview with a porn star.

    Before Mr. Littwin mounts his next inevitable attack on President Trump he might want to consider something Bill Clinton said during the height of the Lewinsky scandal: ”It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life.” But to be fair to Mr. Littwin the following quote demonstrates he is steadily closing the gap between himself and reality, “So if you’re a confirmed anti-Trumpist, you figure he’ll never be impeached, he’ll probably never be indicted and it’s all too possible he could even be re-elected.”

    And when he is reelected it will be due in large part to the anything-goes-once-you’re-in-the-White-House precedent set by Bill Clinton. A precedent that included:

    – Sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky

    – Sex that occurred in the White House

    – Committing perjury by denying under oath he had sex with Miss Lewinsky

    – Being impeached

    But far worse than the Lewinsky scandal was the mainstream media’s partisan attempt to justify the unjustifiable by excusing Clinton’s aberrant behavior. Here’s how America’s paper of record the New York Times rationalized Clinton’s conduct: “But publicly humiliating anyone for consensual adultery is draconian, and wrong. It teaches children cynicism. What they see is how little respect there is for privacy, and how gratuitously and harshly adults will harm one another to gain a little power. And using adultery or any aspect of consensual adult sexuality as a weapon in political battles is more abhorrent than the act itself.”

    You can’t make that stuff up.

    Mr. Littwin has calmed down considerably since hyperventilating this gem in February, 2017, “What I’m arguing, is that Trump’s presidency is a danger to the country and to the world and that to pretend otherwise is to be a part of that danger.”

    And while Mr. Littwin expressed his appreciation of Miss Daniels’ creative use of a Fortune magazine he failed to note Bill Clinton’s even more creative use of a cigar.

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Flags of Valor
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation

  4. Dennis Sharp on said:

    Don Lopez Get with the program man. The article is not about Bill Clinton vs Trump. It is about a porn stars revelations vs a billionaire exerting his power and immense influence over those he would “use”. It’s an opinion piece, let the man express his. Maybe you should get your own column somewhere where your opinion stands on its own, rather than attacking a voice with much to say.

    Move on.

  5. Don Lopez on said:

    Mr. Sharp,

    You’re right, this column is not about Bill Clinton it’s about a porn star’s revelations about an alleged extramarital affair with a billionaire who later became the 45th president of the United States.

    The fact that Mr. Trump became president is the only (o-n-l-y) reason Mr. Littwin devoted a column to this story.

    And you can’t (although Mr. Littwin certainly tries to) talk about a president and an extramarital affair without mentioning Bill Clinton. And you can’t (although Mr. Littwin certainly tries to) minimize or completely ignore Bill Clinton’s aberrant White House behavior.

    I understand how hyper-sensitive Mr. Littwin’s readers are to any criticism aimed at him so I have a recommendation: My name prefaces all my comments so if you disagree with my views don’t read my comments.

    And as an aside, President Trump’s approval has risen to 50%.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/prez_track_apr02

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