Stormy Daniels deserves fairer treatment

Only in the Donald Trump White House would a president getting sued by a porn star -- with whom he allegedly slept sh...

Posted: Mar 9, 2018 2:41 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2018 2:41 PM

Only in the Donald Trump White House would a president getting sued by a porn star -- with whom he allegedly slept shortly after his wife gave birth, and who his lawyer allegedly paid to stay quiet -- seem more par for the course than career-ending.

Yet here we are: Stormy Daniels is suing Donald Trump, saying that the nondisclosure agreement she signed is invalid because the President didn't also sign it. She alleges that Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen -- the man who says he cut her a $130,000 check -- is attempting to intimidate her into silence.

For his part, Cohen won't say what the $130,000 check was for (it reportedly came a few weeks before Election Day), but will say that the President denies sexual relations with that woman.

And so Stormy Daniels is speaking out. Good for her.

The whole affair is tawdry and sordid, in so many ways below the dignity of the presidency. If Trump did cheat on his wife, it would not come as much of a surprise, given his history: he cheated on his first wife with the second, and then fed the story to New York tabloids to humiliate her. A loyal, chivalrous man he is not.

But were the Stormy Daniels allegations simply about an affair, they would reflect poorly on him, but wouldn't be particularly relevant to his current office.

What's different here is the systematic silencing of women. Nondisclosure agreements are too often leveraged against people who have little ability to refuse to sign them -- often employees trying to settle sexual harassment complaints, for example.

They paper over serious problems, and allow harassers and abusers to behave with impunity. In Trump's case, the problem is less the affair allegations than the allegations of hush money and threats to keep a woman quiet.

There's also the treatment of Daniels by the Trump team and the media, who are trying to undermine her credibility by casting her as an attention-hungry porn star who will do just about anything for the right price (as opposed, I guess, to our attention-hungry reality TV star President who will do just about anything for the right price).

There are always good reasons to be skeptical of those who come forward with tabloid friendly stories that indict the powerful, not for legal wrongdoing or abuse of power, but for bad private behavior. But what Daniels seems upset about -- what she wants on the record -- seems to be less about the alleged affair and more about the alleged efforts to stifle her.

Imagine the same scenario with a woman who was an office manager: Say this imaginary woman and a high official in government allegedly have an affair. She definitely gets a six-figure check from his lawyer, and even though that same lawyer carefully asserts that his client denies the affair, the lawyer confirms the existence of a nondisclosure agreement between them. This would all point to one fairly obvious conclusion.

Would we be so quick to doubt Daniels, and so hasty to make her the butt of a joke, if she had a different job? Getting paid to engage in consensual sexual acts on camera doesn't make one a liar or an irredeemably immoral person; it makes one a person who has gotten paid to engage in consensual sexual acts on camera.

And while it's interesting, in a prurient way, that the President -- who enjoys the backing of the evangelical right -- might have cheated on his postpartum wife with a porn star, the real story here is the attempt to shut her up, and then to trash her when she refuses to stay quiet.

We shouldn't let his team get away with that. Daniels deserves to be given a fair hearing, regardless of whether one thinks her occupation makes her a "bad" woman (it doesn't).

In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, Americans have little patience for powerful men who bully women into silence. Let's hope that extends to "bad" women, too.

Terre Haute
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 96°
Robinson
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 96°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 91°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 89°
Casey
Few Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 96°
Brazil
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 96°
Marshall
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 96°
Hot and humid!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 147865

Reported Deaths: 7026
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook927814630
Lake10007423
DuPage9364475
Kane7877275
Will6957320
Winnebago310996
McHenry212097
St. Clair2037137
Kankakee131165
Rock Island106129
Madison104269
Kendall100021
Champaign96015
Boone61021
DeKalb58220
Peoria56728
Sangamon45532
Jackson34019
Randolph2887
McLean28513
Stephenson2785
Ogle2754
Clinton24217
Macon23622
LaSalle22817
Union19619
Whiteside19615
Coles17817
Grundy1775
Iroquois1645
Tazewell1528
Knox1470
Warren1450
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Williamson1334
Adams1311
Morgan1303
Jefferson10717
Lee1032
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski790
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin583
Perry581
Douglas540
Unassigned530
Livingston522
Montgomery491
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford362
Jersey351
Franklin310
Bureau302
Menard250
Mercer250
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Washington210
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Cumberland170
Bond161
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne141
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall110
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
White80
Lawrence70
Hamilton60
Richland40
Stark40
Gallatin30
Out of IL30
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110