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Old 26 March 2018, 05:40 PM
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Default Donald Trump's affairs

OK. While I rarely understand anything about Donald Trump or his appeal to a significant part of the population, his handling of the various accusations of extra-martial affairs is one I find particularly puzzling.

First off, is there anyone out there who seriously believes he hasn't had some extra-marital affairs? I haven't examined the stories of any of the particular women who have come forward, but I doubt they are all making it up, and I doubt there aren't at least a few more who haven't come forward. I doubt that even many of his strongest supporters would be prepared to put money on his having been a completely faithful husband.

Second, in the greater scheme of things, I don't really care if he's had extra-marital affairs. In and of itself, it's one of the least of his sins. I care that he has apparently committed varying degrees of sexual harassment and assault. I care if he's using threats to keep any of the women he's had affairs with from speaking out. I would care if he's fathered any children that he refuses to acknowledge or support (I haven't heard any accusations of this). But just his fooling around? That's between him and his wife any the women involved. If they're all OK with it, then it's none of my business. Further, the people who should care the most -- the "Family Values" moralizing types who condemn all sexual relations outside of the bounds of marriage -- clearly don't care about it enough to dim their support for the man. They seem to think it's worth it to see their agenda advanced, and rationalize that he's changed since those days. I care about the hypocrisy, but again, compared to so many other far worse qualities about the man (and his supporters) it's pretty picayune.

Finally, he's the guy who gets away with things no other politician gets away with. If, as he says, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without losing support, surely owning up to some affairs wouldn't tar him much. It would probably even gain him some applause from the people who like his supposed candor. I suspect the cynical among us figure that powerful politicians who have been completely faithful to their spouses are a minority anyway.

Were I one of Trump's advisers -- and assuming I actually wanted to help him -- I'd suggest he release a statement something like the following:

I am not going to comment on the stories told by any particular woman, as I believe my relationships are a private matter. But I don't deny that I have in the past had extra-marital affairs. Men who are wealthy, famous, or powerful often are presented with more than their share of temptation. That, however, does not excuse my behavior in this regard. I was wrong to have those affairs, and I won't do it again. I have apologized to my wife, she has accepted my apologies, and any further details are frankly no one else's business.

Full of hypocrisy? Probably false or at least misleading? Of course, but when has that seemed to bother his base?
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Old 28 March 2018, 02:59 AM
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I think you are focussing on the wrong element. Forget the sex or the affairs. Trump is on his third marriage - only the most hardcore supporters who think Trump is the second coming of Christ think that Trump has never had an affair and most as you point out, don't care. In fact, a bunch of them are probably jealous that he had sex with a porn star - secretly at least. The notion that a man on his third marriage prioritizes fidelity is not very plausible even to his supporters.

The problem isn't the sex. It's the coverup. The hush money. There is a very real chance that he violated federal campaign finance law with the cover-up (it would be an in-kind contribution). Cohn is believed to have emailed about the NDA using his official campaign email address. That is bad.

His whole legal handling of the whole thing is terrible. His bullying tactics aren't working and Trump's arrogance and refusal to listen to his attorneys is exposing his entire legal strategy and heck everything else as a sham. It destroys his credibility and it's just one more thing that investigators are going to look for in their investigations. I mean Trump is a bully, but if you push back enough he makes serious mistakes. And that just empowers people who have been afraid to go after Trump. Remove his bully pulpit and he is less powerful and if he did worse things to other people, his blunders could be much worse.

Quote:
Were I one of Trump's advisers -- and assuming I actually wanted to help him -- I'd suggest he release a statement something like the following:
You might as well forget it. He won't listen to you and such a statement has already contradicted things he has said already. Plus it requires him to have empathy which he does not have. Nobody is going to buy it his supporters would be disappointed that he would act out of weakness. Way out of character.
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  #3  
Old 28 March 2018, 03:13 AM
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That does seem to be the thing at the moment - whether his supporters have enough sway to stop all the various legal processes, which are going after the various plausible indications of the sort of lawbreaking and wrongdoing that shouldn't be ignored in a credible modern democracy even if you are quite cynical about laws. One would hope that they don't, and it looks to me as though that's how it's going as well.
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Old 28 March 2018, 11:28 AM
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I think part of the hypocrisy comes from the fact that sexual morality is heavily gender biased and the people that advocate traditional morality tend to also advocate traditional gender roles.

While promiscuity might be considered morally wrong in a vague sort of way, it's also considered masculine. When a man has an extra-marital affair he's just being a man but when a woman does it she's being a monster. Men are tempted whereas women are temptresses.

So a man's affairs and assaults on women are simultaneously both immoral and proof of his red-blooded maleness. Which to choose, which to choose... depends whether he's a Republican or a Democrat, of course!
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Old 28 March 2018, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
While promiscuity might be considered morally wrong in a vague sort of way, it's also considered masculine. When a man has an extra-marital affair he's just being a man but when a woman does it she's being a monster. Men are tempted whereas women are temptresses.
Those are pretty archaic ideas. I've hung out with women that pride themselves on their conquests.

As a single man, I refuse to tell how many 'conquests' I may have had. So roles reversed, somewhat.

OY
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Old 28 March 2018, 01:59 PM
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overyonder, this is one of those things that's going to vary drastically depending on who one hangs out with.

The ideas described may well be archaic in the sense of going back quite far in (human-scale) time; but there are plenty of people who've still got them.


ETA: plus which, I don't of course know about the specific women you know; but, while men who pride themselves on their 'conquests' are often doing so about how many women they've had sex with, women who pride themselves on their 'conquests' are often bragging about how many men have tried to court them, not about how many they've actually gotten into bed with.
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Old 28 March 2018, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
Those are pretty archaic ideas. I've hung out with women that pride themselves on their conquests.
But are these women hanging out with evangelists? I think the point is that the base that Trump is appealing to, the 'moral majority' the Christian Right, whatever term you want to use, doesn't seem to see any reason to condemn Trump for his extramarital affairs. These, after all, are the same people who thought it acceptable that a 30 year old man was pursuing teenagers, it appears its also acceptable that a much married older man can sleep around while his third wife is busy giving birth.
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Old 28 March 2018, 03:07 PM
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Sue, my thread on the history of US Evangelists in the Social Studies section gives a good overview on why the holy rollers vote the way they do.
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  #9  
Old 28 March 2018, 04:44 PM
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I guess that's kind of my point. Of course the issue is less about the affairs, and more about the cover-up, threats, and so on. With a typical politician, I kind of understand why they try to hide extramarital affairs; they think it will hurt their image. But Trump? Why is he even bothering?

Hell, given it's Trump, I'm surprised he's not just bragging about it. "Of course I've had a lot of affairs with beautiful women! Eat your hearts out, losers!"
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  #10  
Old 28 March 2018, 04:58 PM
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"Conservative Christian" is an oxymoron. Just saying ...
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  #11  
Old 28 March 2018, 07:30 PM
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As Stormy Daniels tells her story, six conservative Americans debate whether Trump is a role model

Quote:
61 percent of Republicans consider the president a good role model for children, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last week. Although Trump is disappointing most Democrats — only 2 percent of whom consider him a role model — he has retained the wide support of members of his party at rates that are much higher than Bill Clinton experienced in 1998 when his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky became public.

Some of the president’s most dedicated supporters are deeply religious conservatives who would probably be shunned by their communities if they spoke or acted like Trump has. The Washington Post dispatched six reporters across the country to talk with conservatives about the disconnect between how they live their lives and how the president has lived his.
Thought this was a an interesting take on the matter, with opinions running pretty well the full spectrum. (For those who either subscribe to WaPo, or haven't used up their quota of free articles for the month yet...)
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Old 28 March 2018, 10:15 PM
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The amount of willful ignorance or cognitive dissonance in that article hurts my brain.

Quote:
She added that people have become accustomed to their presidents having shortcomings and that if former president Barack Obama faced similar accusations, it would not be a big deal.
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  #13  
Old 28 March 2018, 10:21 PM
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Just like how conservatives didn't bring up Bill as some sort of issue for Hillary, right?
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Old 29 March 2018, 12:30 AM
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Crocoduck, Iím having flashbacks to the 2016 campaign, where Hillary was criticized by Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump, for her marriage to Bill. Or to put it another way, Hillary was judged for her 40 year marriage by guys who, between the three of them, have had 12 wives.
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Old 29 March 2018, 01:08 AM
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And between the three of them they've had at least that many affairs while married.
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Old 29 March 2018, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Just like how conservatives didn't bring up Bill as some sort of issue for Hillary, right?
Exactly!
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Old 29 March 2018, 01:01 PM
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Ugh. That OU student interviewed in the WaPo article is hideous. No one has lost rights, because her life hasn't changed. Spoiled, entitled little princess.
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Old 29 March 2018, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
She added that people have become accustomed to their presidents having shortcomings and that if former president Barack Obama faced similar accusations, it would not be a big deal.
Of course. Nobody at all would care if Barack Obama had had an affair with a porn actress and paid her hush money through an intermediary, as long as he didn't use dijon mustard or wear a tan suit.
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Old 29 March 2018, 10:39 PM
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Say what you like about Donald Trump, but at least as far as we know he's never eaten rocket / arugula...
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