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.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7894177
DeSoto693279
Harrison512983
Jackson450384
Rankin389486
Madison381293
Lee351479
Forrest300778
Jones289184
Washington256499
Lafayette248343
Lauderdale2437134
Lamar224238
Oktibbeha200854
Bolivar200477
Neshoba1842111
Lowndes178362
Panola169139
Leflore165887
Sunflower160949
Warren154355
Monroe148172
Pontotoc146119
Marshall141229
Lincoln138957
Pike138256
Copiah136936
Coahoma124936
Scott124929
Yazoo121733
Grenada121638
Simpson121249
Union117425
Tate116039
Leake114640
Holmes114460
Pearl River112959
Itawamba112225
Adams107343
Prentiss104819
Wayne100821
Alcorn98712
George97918
Covington97026
Marion94642
Tippah88922
Newton85627
Chickasaw84026
Tallahatchie84025
Winston83321
Hancock81628
Tishomingo80041
Attala79026
Clarke74351
Clay68421
Jasper67917
Walthall63827
Calhoun62212
Noxubee59617
Smith59116
Montgomery54323
Claiborne53716
Tunica52917
Yalobusha52614
Lawrence51214
Perry48723
Carroll48012
Greene47318
Stone46414
Humphreys42816
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40511
Webster37013
Wilkinson33720
Benton3335
Kemper32215
Sharkey28314
Jefferson27510
Franklin2403
Choctaw2056
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22988375
Mobile16788315
Tuscaloosa10235140
Montgomery9978197
Madison922894
Shelby727463
Baldwin661569
Lee651765
Marshall437249
Calhoun422461
Etowah421450
Morgan407135
Houston371734
DeKalb336029
Elmore317353
St. Clair289142
Limestone279730
Walker275593
Talladega263635
Cullman239925
Lauderdale218042
Jackson212515
Franklin203231
Autauga203030
Colbert198731
Russell19283
Blount191125
Dallas186327
Chilton185832
Coffee173211
Escambia172230
Covington171429
Dale166551
Chambers134343
Clarke133617
Pike132713
Tallapoosa131387
Marion107129
Barbour10129
Butler100240
Marengo100222
Winston91913
Geneva8617
Lawrence83732
Pickens83618
Bibb82514
Randolph82016
Hale75830
Clay73612
Washington73412
Cherokee73114
Lowndes70428
Monroe64510
Henry6436
Bullock63917
Crenshaw60330
Perry5856
Fayette56913
Wilcox56412
Conecuh56013
Cleburne5518
Macon53020
Lamar4745
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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