OPINION: A Storm That Didn't Pack Much Of A Punch

It's not often you turn on the TV and see a porn star describe how she once took a magazine with the president's face on it and spanked him with it after telling him to drop his pants. In fact, unless I'm missing some epic moment from the Gerald Ford presidency, that's a first. What's really telling is that just about everyone watching wasn't all that surprised. The story of the Stormy Daniels affair sounds par for the course when it comes to Donald Trump and that's why there's little evidence to suggest any of the developments in this particular case have hurt him. In fact, CNN had a new poll out today that showed while 63% of respondents said they believe these infidelity stories, the president had a 42% approval rating, his highest number in 11 months. 

For me, there were far more cringeworthy moments during the interview than newsworthy ones. The fact that President Trump always seems to compare women he's slept with, whether they be porn stars or playmates, to his daughter, is rather odd and creepy. Also, the "Shark Week and chill" story that didn't involve any "chill" was as awkward to listen to as it must have been for Stormy to live through. 

The problem is this wasn't billed by Stormy's attorney, Michael Avenatti, as a cringeworthy interview. It was billed as a newsworthy one. The moment he tweeted out a picture of a disc next to a safe the expectations shot sky-high. His tweet the morning of the 60 Minutes interview tamping down those soaring expectations was an indication to me that we wouldn't be getting major revelations during this Sunday evening spectacle. 

What would have made this a newsworthy event? Any kind of physical evidence proving the affair would have been a start. That's not to say Stormy wasn't credible, but it's still her word against the president's. What would have been more newsworthy would have been evidence that the president knew about the hush money. Right now there's some circumstantial evidence that could lead one to believe he probably had an idea, but nothing even close to definitive proof. Some will say that the threats made to Stormy and her child were newsworthy. I certainly agree, but there was no evidence offered to directly link the president to those threats. 

My suspicion is Stormy and her attorney have some form of evidence (texts, pictures, video, etc.) that can prove the affair happened. I'd also bet those materials eventually become public for all of us to see. That, however, would not be a game-changer with this president in this moment. What could be problematic for President Trump is if there's evidence that he knew about the payment and/or he winds up getting deposed. 

The best part about the 60 minutes interview? After all that buildup and anticipation, the basketball game leading into the show wound up going into overtime. So 2018. 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images. 

PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman


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