The conventional wisdom accepted both before Trump got elected and perhaps even more so since then is that there is virtually nothing he could do nor any new revelation that would shock his supporters and turn them against him.
Trump’s support has never hinged on voters remaining ignorant about the multiplicity of his moral failings — or so the argument goes.
Trump himself reinforced this self-serving perception by claiming during the presidential election that he would be able to get away with murder without losing political support.
The truth is both that this has never actually been the case, nor has Trump himself ever believed he enjoys such a level impunity.
The simple fact that Trump spared no effort to cover up his misdeeds demonstrates that he always saw their disclosure as damaging. Moreover, seeking safety inside a fortress of non-disclosure agreements did not by his estimation provide him enough protection – for that, he would need to go several steps further and commit crimes that would themselves then need to be covered up during his criminal pursuit of the presidency, according to the United States Department of Justice.
Trump lives each day in fear of the truth. It is not so much that he has a disregard for truthfulness, but rather that he sees it as an enemy that can spring from any direction at any time. Hence his relentless war with the media.
And a man who is ultimately loyal to no one but himself, knows that there is no one else whose loyalty to him can remain unshakable.
In the waning days of the 2016 election, as Donald Trump alleged that Hillary Clinton was concealing corrupt behavior in her famously deleted emails, the Republican candidate was hiding a bombshell of his own.
Her name was Stormy Daniels. And unlike Trump’s tax returns, which the public still hasn’t seen, she could speak. She had long ago described having unprotected sex with the serially philandering celebrity shortly after his marriage to his third wife, Melania. In Touch magazine planned to publish a detailed account in 2011. But Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, threatened to sue. The article was held.
Flash forward to October 7, 2016: Trump already stood accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women when The Washington Post published a video in which he was recorded bragging that when he sees a beautiful woman, “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Many believed that the tape would cement his defeat. But Trump persevered. In fact, at a moment when another scandal would’ve further damaged his chances, Daniels received $130,000 in hush money. She was paid that amount 11 days before the election. And Trump voters went to the polls unaware that a sum exceeding most of their annual salaries was expended to keep that information from them. [Continue reading…]