Why Trump’s Affair with Playmate Karen McDougal Should Matter, But, Of Course, Will Not

Stop me if you have heard this story before…

So we have now learned that President Donald Trump apparently had a sexual affair with a nude model, while married to Melania, and then had his buddies pay to cover it up during the presidential election. Only this time the woman is not porn star “Stormy Daniels,” but Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, and the entity paying her off during the campaign (at least directly) was not his lawyer, but the National Enquirer, which is owned by a Trump pal.

There is a lot of new information in Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker report which, in a rational world, would be extremely scandalous and significant. However, since if we ever really lived in such a place we clearly no longer do so now, it is clear that this story will have little, if any, real impact politically.

First, here are the top ten reasons why these revelations should matter:

  • The story is very detailed and by Ronan Farrow, a current hero of the mainstream media for his work on the Harvey Weinstein investigation.
  • They corroborate the details and methods of the Stormy Daniels affair, so, in theory, the story should be a double whammy.
  • Trump was married to the First Lady at the time and she just had just given birth to his last child.
  • Trump broke his marriage vows, which still matters to some people, and he has denied both affairs, which is clearly lying.
  • The use of the National Enquirer effectively as an arm of his presidential campaign raises serious ethical and probably even campaign finance issues, and had this been fully known during the primary campaign it could have become a serious liability for Trump.
  • The concept that the National Enquirer has had Trump effectively leveraged for the entire campaign and the first thirteen months of his presidency is at least as concerning as him being seemingly compromised by Russia.
  • The details of the story (unprotected sex with two women at virtually the same time) further degrade Trump’s famous claim that the alleged Russian “pee tape” could not possibly exist because he is a germaphobe.
  • His upsetting reference to a woman liking “big black dick” because she was dating a black man would alone, with any other president in our history (other than maybe Barack Obama), be a massive scandal on its own.
  • The media’s inability or unwillingness to uncover these stories during the election, especially during the primaries when they might have really mattered, is a further indictment of the entire industry and further proof that Trump, much like Obama before him, was not at all properly vetted.
  • Trump’s strong support among the religious right is now even more preposterous (if that is even possible) than it already was.

However, as we have already long ago realized, with Trump none of the old rules apply. It is very obvious, especially since we have gone through this same drill many times before, that there will be no real impact on him politically (though Melania may be another story) because of this. Here are the primary reasons why:

  • There is apparently no incriminating photo of the two of them together, nor even video of her detailing the affair, therefore his “Cult 45” followers who choose to do so can easily disregard this as just more “Fake News!”
  • McDougal is very attractive and so most of Trump’s male cult members who want to believe the story will actually think even MORE highly of him because of it. His female cult members won’t care because McDougal actually speaks fairly highly of Trump and some may even envy her.
  • Trump being a pathological liar and a dreadful human are already well baked into his “cake” with his cult base.
  • The many dangers of having a president compromised by an unscrupulous outlet like the National Enquirer are completely lost on his cult members. In fact, they will see this as just another sign of how incredibly powerful Trump really is.
  • No piece of information about Trump’s character matters to his supporters because he is now president of the United States and the only alternative was Hillary Clinton, whom they see as far worse than literally anything you could possibly convince them that Trump is (which, since they used to be friends and Trump gave her lots of money, has always been one of the more confounding aspects of the belief system of Trump’s cult).

So the most significant impact of this story will not likely be on Trump (again, unless Melania decides to make that happen), but rather on future Republican candidates who, for the rest of my lifetime, will now be even more completely powerless than they already were to ever criticize a Democratic opponent for lacking character or ethics.

John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at [email protected]

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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