id President Trump, literally and figuratively our first pornographic president, have an affair with yet another porn star? Yawn.
It's not that I don't care about the legal implications of the recording recently aired by CNN in which Trump appears to discuss the possibility of making a cash payment to the former Playboy "Playmate" Karen McDougal with his embittered now ex-attorney Michael Cohen. If the payment was made by Cohen on Trump's behalf and later reimbursed — Rudy Giuliani, for some reason the president's attorney now, insists that it wasn't — was it an unreported campaign finance violation? Probably. Should he be prosecuted for it? Yes, for sure. Do I want to hear or read more about it? No
This is not because I don't think our campaign finance laws should be taken seriously or because I don't think Trump should be held to account for his swinish behavior. If anything I find it despicable that 10,000 swords have not leaped from their scabbards to defend the honor of our lovely first lady. Everything about the extended Trump porno saga, not only the events themselves but the manner in which their details are being relayed to the public, is disgusting. It's the sleazy D-list scandal the president deserves, like a crossover between The West Wing and VH1's The Surreal Life. The only thing the rest of us are gritting our teeth for is the inevitable Flavor Flav cameo.
As it stands, the cast of characters is dizzying enough.
There is Michael Cohen, the TV lawyer and Trump protégé who is said to have been responsible for the payments in question — if there were payments — and who has gone in the space of less than a year from delivering unhinged rants on behalf of his former boss on cable news to cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's never-ending Russia investigation.
There are, of course, the unfortunate women: Stormy Daniels, the sly trash-talking porn star and all-American folk hero recently arrested on some ludicrous pretext in Ohio, whose husband is divorcing her; and McDougal, who has been effectively silenced because in this country it is possible for a billionaire adulterer to have his cronies in the tabloid press allegedly buy the "exclusive" account of one of his affairs and then use his own money or that of his attorney to purchase the facts back from the magazine's chairman, the improbably named David Pecker.
Then there are the other lawyers involved: Michael Avenatti, who has represented Stormy Daniels and claims that he will be running for president in 2020 on goodness knows what platform, and Lanny Davis, a legal adviser for the Clintons who
now seems to be doing more or less for Cohen what his client had done for Trump, namely stirring the pot on programs like Good Morning America. How long before Davis betrays Cohen, I wonder?
For now, at least Davis seems to be playing along. "Michael Cohen has turned a corner in his life, and he's now dedicated to telling the truth to everyone, and we'll see what happens," Davis said Wednesday on ABC. "This is about truth versus lying, and ultimately Donald Trump is going to be done in by the truth." I hope he is right.
Decades ago, in the days when The Washington Post allowed her to write things, Sally Quinn penned a column in which she excommunicated Bill and Hillary Clinton from official Washington because of the shame they had supposedly visited upon the city. Quinn was roundly mocked for this article, which appeared under the absurd headline "In Washington, that letdown feeling," and rightly so. It was a shrill and pompous piece of writing. But the more I think about it, the more I sympathize now with the instincts of this famed journalist and practitioner of the magical arts. There should, in fact, be a limit to what the rest of us have to put up with, whether we are part of the "nest" that politicians like Clinton and Trump "foul" or not.
Put aside, if you can, the issue of morality, a concession that nowadays is almost demanded when we are talking about politicians. Do you really want to read another news story about the labyrinthine schemes to protect the former host of The Apprentice from the consequences of cheating on his third wife dreamed up by his former real estate partner? I, for one, do not.
If sometime next year Bob Mueller and Congress throw Trump in prison because he lied about a tweet or something, it will be worth it if it means that this reality program gets canceled.