Sunday, July 16, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, excerpt twelve)

from The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser:

Trump soon faced exposure on another front. Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo of The Wall Street Journal, pursuing the story that Fox News killed during the 2016 campaign, reported on January 12, 2018, that Michael Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, had sealed a deal just eleven days before the election to pay $130,000 in hush money to the porn star Stormy Daniels for silence about an extramarital sexual romp with Trump in 2006.

Trump and his team responded, as they often did, with deception. Cohen, who months earlier boasted that he would “take a bullet for the president,” told reporters that he paid the money himself, as if Trump had nothing to do with it. When reporters asked the president on Air Force One about the secret payments, he said, “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael’s my attorney.” A reporter asked if he had known about the payments. “No,” Trump said. Did he know where the money came from? “No, I don’t know.” In fact, Trump knew perfectly well, since he had reimbursed Cohen for the payments, personally signing six out of eleven checks from his own bank account or trust.

The affair with Daniels, known for adult movies like Good Will Humping and Porking with Pride 2, reminded the public of Trump’s sordid past with women at the very moment the #MeToo movement seeking to hold prominent men to account for sexual misbehavior was getting under way—a reaction, many believed, to Trump’s own history of getting away with such acts. The president who had boasted on the infamous Access Hollywood tape that he could grab women by their private parts had been accused over the years by more than two dozen women of sexual harassment or assault—ogling women backstage at his beauty pageants, groping a woman on an airplane flight, kissing another outside her office at Trump Tower, reaching under other women’s dresses. Several of the women had gone public all over again in the weeks following revelations about other powerful men like the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Trump, ever defiant, not only rejected all allegations against him, he rejected them against anyone else who was accused, at least if they were on his side of the political aisle. Most notably that fall, he stuck with Roy Moore, the controversial Senate candidate in Alabama, even after he was accused of molesting a fourteen-year-old girl and pursuing other teenage girls—allegations that cost Republicans the seat in a special election in a deep-red state where the party had not lost a Senate race in thirty years.

No comments:

Post a Comment