When the news first broke that Donald Trump had an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels a decade ago, the nation’s so-called moral guardians gave Trump a “mulligan” for it as long as he gives them what they want on social issues. Just in case anyone doubted that mulligan still stood in light of recent events, one of Trump’s most diehard fundie supporters, Franklin Graham, put that to rest late last week. He claimed that it shouldn’t even be our concern.
While promoting his new book, “Through My Father’s Eyes”–which claims to offer lessons from his late father, Billy Graham–Franklin gave his take on the Daniels saga. Watch here.
When asked about the Daniels saga, Graham harrumphed that “these things happened many years ago.” He felt that it was really “nobody’s business,” and was rightly a matter between Trump and Melania.
Hemant Mehta, better known as “The Friendly Atheist” on Patheos, discovered that this stood in marked contrast to Graham questioning of whether Barack Obama was really a Christian since his father was a Muslim. Later, one of Mehta’s readers discovered a 1998 op-ed Graham wrote for The Wall Street Journal, in which Franklin claimed Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was very much a public matter. As he put it then, a president willing to “lie to or mislead his wife and daughter” wouldn’t think twice about lying to the American people.
Graham must have anticipated this, because he said that it was “a mistake” to attempt to lynch Clinton in 1998 and 1999. That doesn’t make Graham’s attempt to shrug off the Daniels saga any less dense.
Let’s say it nice and slow, Franklin. The issue isn’t the affair, but the attempt to hush it up. No matter what Trump’s legal team would have you believe, there is no dispute that the payment was intended to keep Daniels from influencing the election by telling the press about her affair. Campaign finance law is quite clear–any payment intended to keep someone from disclosing information that could damage a campaign is an “in-kind contribution” to that campaign.
If you buy Rudy Giuliani’s assertion that Trump reimbursed Cohen, that made the payment a loan to the Trump campaign that was not disclosed on campaign disclosure forms. And even without that to consider, Cohen flagrantly violated New York state bar rules. He offered financial assistance to a client when he wasn’t allowed to do so. Moreover, when Trump reimbursed Cohen for fixing a number of problems, Cohen didn’t tell him that part of that money went towards reimbursement for the Daniels payment–even though he was required to keep Trump apprised of such important matters.
There’s also another issue that hasn’t been discussed. If you’ll remember, during Daniels’ interview with Anderson Cooper in March, Daniels claimed that a thug walked up to her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 and warned her to keep quiet about Trump. He then looked at her daughter and said:
“That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
Daniels went on to say that she signed the agreement in part to protect her daughter. If there is even one iota of evidence that Daniels was threatened, anyone and everyone responsible must be brought to justice.
If Graham doesn’t understand why the nation has a right to be concerned about the prospect that a presidential candidate and/or his aides engaged in unethical conduct–at best–to hush up an affair, it’s yet more proof that he isn’t the man his father was.
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