March 26, 2018

Does It Matter Whether Trump Had an Affair?

Stormy Daniels 2015Credibility can be difficult to assess, especially when we find ourselves working with little information aside from gut feelings and brief sound bytes. If I was to think about credibility as ranging somewhere between 0 (not at all credible) to 100 (highly credible), I'd place Donald Trump at 0 on the subject of the affair alleged by Stormy Daniels. He has lied repeatedly about all sorts of things, often continuing to do so even after he's been caught. As far as I'm concerned, he has no credibility left as a result. As for Daniels, I'd put her somewhere around 20-30 based on last night's interview. I didn't find her particularly credible, but I don't know anything about her aside from what I saw during the interview.

But here's the does not matter to me whether President Trump had sex with her. Whether he slept with 0 porn stars, 1 porn star, or 10 porn stars is not going to change my opinion of him as a president in any meaningful way. In much the same way it didn't matter to me what President Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky, it doesn't matter to me what President Trump may have done with Daniels. As long as what was alleged to have happened was consensual (which she says it was) and legal, who cares? If there were illegal payments, threats, and the like after the alleged affair, that certainly matters just like it mattered when Clinton lied under oath; however, I'm not convinced it matters much whether there was an affair or even several affairs.

I continue to see some on the left hoping that Daniels' allegations will eventually lead to Trump losing support from evangelical Christians, but this strikes me as unlikely. They don't believe her, and even if they did, they would likely blame her. They'd claim that she's a "fornicator" who seduced Trump or something equally absurd. Aside from something like the emergence of a recording in which Trump could be heard attempting to persuade a woman to abort a pregnancy or irrefutable evidence that Trump has suddenly come down with "teh gay," I think his support from evangelical Christians is fairly safe. I suspect even a recording of him bashing Christianity would be dismissed or explained away.

We can accuse evangelical Christians who support Trump of hypocrisy all we want, but I'm not sure that changes the fundamental question asked in the title of this post. Does it matter? Aside from the possible implications of a cover-up, should we care? Whether the allegations are true of not, I feel bad for Trump's family. I know that may be an unpopular sentiment among those of you who have been referring to him as "orange Hitler" and going after Melania Trump in many of the same (if not worse) ways that the right went after Michelle Obama, but so be it. Aside from that, I'm having a hard time concluding that any of Trump's alleged affairs really matter.