According to CNBC approximately 50 million viewers watched Anderson Cooper’s interview (Sunday, March 25th) with Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. Ms. Clifford’s description of her alleged 2006 one night stand with President Donald Trump garnered “60 Minutes” its highest ratings in ten years. Does this mean the American public believes Stormy Daniels’ account of her alleged sexual encounter with Trump? Will Trump supporters now jump ship and call out the President for his moral transgressions?
Donald Trump’s tryst with Stormy Daniels has no impact on the presidency and is not what the public should focus on. In its never ending quest for ratings, the media has created a “National Enquirer” presidency. Granted, Donald Trump has provided a wealth of questionable material for reporters and political pundits to work with, but allowing Stormy Daniels to give details of her alleged 2006 dalliance with Trump has lowered journalistic standards and shifted the focus away from the true significance of the Stormy Daniels affair.
Stormy Daniels puts President Donald Trump in a precarious legal position. Long story short: the $130,000 hush-money paid to Daniels (and the $150,000 paid to former playboy bunny Karen McDougal), possibly made in coordination with Trump, constitutes an illegal contribution to the Trump campaign. In paying Daniels, Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who worked for the Trump Organization at the time, is in violation of the ban on corporate campaign contributions. Complaints have been filed requesting the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission to investigate the Daniels and McDougal payments. It’s not the alleged affairs that pose serious problems for Donald Trump; it’s the law. While Trump denies any association with Daniels and McDougal, the paper trail may very well prove him wrong.
Paper trail notwithstanding, nothing Stormy Daniels says will sway the opinion of Trump supporters who care little about the President’s amoral behavior as long as he remains in the White House “making America great again”. Creating a “National Enquirer” presidency that focuses more on scandal than on legal issues diverts attention from weightier matters and spreads ignorance. The significance of Stormy Daniels does not lie in salacious details of her fling with Donald Trump; rather, the significance of the Daniels/McDougal scandal rests in its impact on the Trump White House going forward.