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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 1:41 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2018 1:41 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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