Tuesday, January 30, 2018
If President Donald J. Trump stays true to form, he will include his standard “fake news” criticism of the media when he delivers his first State of the Union address to the nation tonight.
Republicans attending the joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives will undoubtedly join in the public condemnation of the so-called liberal press.
But lost in the conservative attacks on the free press is this reality: It was the Wall Street Journal, hardly a liberal newspaper, that broke the latest blockbuster stories about President Trump.
In so doing, the Journal has turned the spotlight on the hypocrisy of the Republican Party.
It wasn’t so long ago that the GOP claimed the moral high ground during the presidency of Democrat Bill Clinton, who had a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Republicans used the scandal as a political hammer against Democrats.
Yet, there was not a peep out of the Republicans earlier this month when the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump’s lawyer used a private Delaware company to pay a former adult-film star $130,000 in return for her agreeing not to publicly discuss an alleged yearlong affair with Trump several years ago.
The ex-porn actress Stormy Daniels is scheduled to appear on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show later tonight.
Thus, as Republicans on Capitol Hill pay homage to Republican President Trump following his first year in office, Stormy will be the subtext of the State of the Union address.
After all, the Journal story about the payment to Daniels in return for her silence should have major political ramifications. That’s because the check was issued in 2016 during the heat of the presidential election.
Of course, there’s nothing to suggest that Trump’s alleged affair would have hurt him among his supporters. After all, in the midst of his campaign the billionaire real-estate developer from New York City was accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment, including nonconsensual kissing or groping, by at least 15 women since 1980.
Trump denied the allegations, and his supporters publicly condemned the women who came forward.
Indeed, in 2005 Trump was recorded telling Billy Bush, host of “Access Hollywood,” about fame enabling him to grope and have sex with women. His bragging about being able to “Grab ‘em by the p----” was widely publicized during the presidential election, but it made no difference to his supporters.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST WYNN
Now comes another blockbuster story from the Wall Street Journal, this one concerning Trump’s friend Stephen Wynn, the billionaire casino mogul and leading Republican political donor.
According to the newspaper, which leans conservative in its editorial positions, Wynn, who was selected by Trump to serve as the Republican National Committee finance chairman, frequently demanded naked massages from female employees, and sometimes pressured them to engage in sexual intercourse or to perform sex acts on them. Wynn, who resigned from his RNC post after the Journal story broke, denies the allegations.
The newspaper reported Wynn paid a manicurist $7.5 million after she told colleagues that he had forced her to have sex with him.
But here’s where the Republican Party’s hypocrisy looms large.
Wynn has been a prolific Republican donor and led the RNC’s fundraising efforts during President Trump’s first year, helping the committee rake in more than $130 million.
He contributed more than $600,000 to GOP causes last year, according to the Associated Press, which cited the Federal Election Commission.
The silence of prominent Republicans with regard to the Wynn scandal has been deafening.
Last fall, the RNC demanded that the Democratic National Committee return all the political contributions it received from movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who was fired from the television studio he helped found, after allegations of sexual harassment against him.
Weinstein also resigned from the Directors Guild of America.
GOP leaders demanded that the DNC and Democratic candidates return the “dirty money” they received from Weinstein.
However, Republicans were largely silent on returning the millions of dollars from Wynn.
It is noteworthy that the chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas was among the organizers of Trump’s recent fundraiser at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to celebrate the anniversary of the inauguration.
Thus tonight, as President Trump addresses the nation, the question Republicans will confront is this: Can a party survive without moral underpinnings?