It’s becoming increasingly clear that the final chapter of the existential horror that is the Donald Trump story will be — if not one of impeachment and imprisonment — at the very least one of unprecedented national shame.
The president is panicking as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation enters its final stages. It’s now been revealed the federal prosecutors believe Trump himself committed a felony by directing his then-attorney Michael Cohen to carry out hush money payments on his behalf. Things will only get worse for the administration from here out.
As the evidence of collusion and criminality mounts, the conservative media apparatus will face a tough decision: continue shilling for President Trump and go down alongside him, or finally turn on him and salvage some last scraps of credibility. It’s a safe bet that Fox News at least will cling to his side for the foreseeable future, but other conservative outlets are already jumping ship.
Popular conservative website The Washington Examiner has published a new editorial article with the brutal title: “Want to avoid legal trouble? Start by not cheating on your wife and don’t cavort with murderous strongmen or their lobbyists.” Attributed to the publication itself rather than any specific writer, the piece tears into Trump on several fronts.
It starts by sketching out the legal problems currently facing the president, ranging from his former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s communications with Russia to the recent Cohen campaign finance violation revelations. While it hedges its bets a bit by claiming that it’s still unclear whether or Trump broke the law, the article makes the point that all of Trump’s current problems are due to his own misbehavior.
“For starters: Had Trump not cheated on his wife with a porn actress, he would not have found himself during his presidential campaign, arranging for hush money to be paid to said porn actress. Now we learn that this hush money might have been illegal,” it reads.
From there the piece goes on to muddy the waters a bit by discussing what does and should constitute a campaign finance violation, calling the legal argument against Trump on this subject “questionable.” The Examiner tries to compare the six-figure bribe to Stormy Daniels to someone giving a political candidate a haircut and not reporting it as a contribution. The comparison hardly needs a thorough rebutting because it’s patently absurd at face value. Any reasonable person can see the tremendous difference between the two.
While The Examiner is incorrect to conflate a haircut with a huge lump sum payment in return for silence, the piece does point out that even if Trump tries to make the aforementioned argument, it doesn’t negate the fact that he would be using legal quibbling to defend the inarguably immoral act of paying to cover up an extramarital affair in the first place.
“Trump could argue that it’s absurd to count as a campaign finance expenditure everything that enhances a politician’s reputation, and that the hush money was no different than a haircut. But take a step back and consider the position of the president here: He’s making a legalistic defense of hush money his shady lawyer paid to a porn actress to cover up the extramarital affair he had with her just after his wife had given birth to his son,” The Washington Examiner writes.
If he had simply not cheated on his wife, this problem would have never emerged. The article goes on to explain that “basic rules of prudence and good living” could have helped him avoid his Manafort fiasco as well. By simply not hiring a man as clearly shady and entangled with foreign governments as Manafort, Trump would have saved himself a lot of trouble. The same goes for working and communicating with Vladimir Putin.
“Don’t cheat on your wife. Don’t cavort with murderous strongmen. Don’t cavort with dirty operatives. If Trump and his campaign had followed these basic rules, they wouldn’t face the legal headaches they face today,” the article concludes.
Wrong on many issues regularly, The Washington Examiner is at least right on this one. Trump’s problems are of his own making. He has lived a long life of predation, cruelty, and selfishness and now it’s finally catching up with him. In the end, running for president will prove to be the worst thing to ever happened to Donald Trump.