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: 516486

Reported Deaths: 10299
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison35042558
DeSoto33463432
Hinds32797643
Jackson24926392
Rankin22593405
Lee16523245
Madison14978283
Jones14191248
Forrest13852260
Lauderdale12326323
Lowndes11387193
Lamar10713140
Pearl River9759244
Lafayette8881143
Hancock7848132
Washington7561169
Oktibbeha7234138
Monroe7091179
Pontotoc7060110
Warren6892178
Panola6807135
Neshoba6753210
Marshall6735142
Bolivar6472151
Union645699
Alcorn5950108
Pike5947157
Lincoln5544136
George511080
Prentiss510185
Tippah497983
Itawamba4903107
Scott479499
Tate4786118
Adams4784125
Leflore4756144
Yazoo458492
Copiah458395
Simpson4577117
Wayne443772
Covington435395
Sunflower4331106
Marion4311112
Coahoma4259110
Leake414491
Newton396182
Tishomingo388894
Grenada3796109
Stone366466
Attala341690
Jasper341566
Chickasaw319167
Winston318892
Clay313978
Clarke301995
Calhoun288950
Holmes273389
Smith270852
Yalobusha245847
Tallahatchie232653
Greene225449
Walthall222166
Lawrence220842
Perry214656
Amite210357
Webster206748
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182757
Carroll175841
Jefferson Davis174643
Tunica163939
Benton153439
Kemper145541
Choctaw137827
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132339
Franklin126630
Quitman107928
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97334
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848779

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164582005
Mobile744601384
Madison53563738
Shelby38454371
Baldwin38215589
Tuscaloosa36172644
Montgomery34573782
Lee25690264
Calhoun22636520
Morgan22548411
Etowah20075520
Marshall18865318
Houston17795426
St. Clair16968359
Limestone16206220
Cullman16170306
Elmore15952295
Lauderdale15093307
Talladega14267302
DeKalb13095271
Walker12180380
Blount10791193
Autauga10562157
Jackson10221196
Coffee9440192
Colbert9376210
Dale9049192
Tallapoosa7287202
Russell711465
Chilton7098170
Covington6973197
Escambia6969144
Franklin6369108
Chambers5810142
Marion5446132
Dallas5306210
Pike5135109
Clarke486086
Lawrence4852130
Winston4804110
Geneva4656136
Bibb436495
Barbour370880
Butler3445101
Marengo342993
Monroe338566
Randolph338067
Pickens335090
Fayette332285
Henry321266
Cherokee320564
Hale319589
Crenshaw261878
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay253169
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141940
Sumter139841
Greene130745
Choctaw94628
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