The media is having a feeding frenzy over allegations that Trump had a one-night-stand with porn star Stormy Daniels in 2006 and then paid hush money a decade later. Her “confession” on 60 Minutes was the most highly rated of such programs in more than a decade. Then there were revelations that Trump had a nine-month affair with a former Playboy Bunny that ended in 2007.
If the allegations are true, Trump has major problems with his zipper. Frankly, the problem is with his morals. Only time will reveal the impact these allegations will have on the elections in 2018 and 2020.
While not discounting the alleged affairs, they must be looked at within a historical perspective. Many U.S. presidents served successfully (and some unsuccessfully) even with regrettable, repulsive and reprehensible sexual peccadillos.
History reveals that many U.S. presidents had sexual affairs, some more flagrant than others. Furthermore, there were rumors about other presidents but no firm data to confirm salacious charges. While there is a mystique surrounding the presidential office, it must be remembered that they were all mere men.
President Trump’s illicit sexual activities are well known: his out-of-wedlock daughter, his admitting to grabbing women and numerous rape and assault charges. Now, The Wall Street Journal reported he had an affair with Daniels and his lawyer paid her $130,000 hush money before the 2016 election. While those facts (and accusations) should not be dismissed with the wave of the hand, they should be considered in an historical context.
Thomas Jefferson is known to have had affairs with at least three women, (though the last two followed the death of his wife). His first affair was as a young college student. His best friend was John Walker and Tom was smitten with Walker’s wife, Betsy. Jefferson admitted in an 1805 letter to improper advances made on her. He apologized to avoid a duel and a scandal.
While in Paris as U.S. ambassador, the then-widowed Jefferson fell in love with Maria Cosway, a beautiful Italian painter. This affair preceded the French Revolution and Jefferson took her to the opera, on country picnics and sightseeing around Paris before the city became chaotic. He wrote “A Dialog of the Head versus the Heart” and he broke off the affair. (His head conquered his heart).
In 1802, newspaper man James Callendar accused Jefferson of a longtime affair with his slave Sally Hemings which produced a number of children. While some authorities dispute that as fact, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and most historians believe that Callendar was correct.
Jefferson’s sexual affairs must not be explained away, dismissed, or rationalized; however, those wicked activities did not negate the fact that America would not be the nation it is without his leadership.
Democrat and lifelong bachelor James Buchanan is thought by some people to be the first “gay” president (and thought by many more people to be one of the worst presidents). Buchanan reportedly lived for several years with William Rufus King, a former vice president and Alabama senator. The two men were considered inseparable and were the object of much mockery. Andrew Jackson labeled King “Miss Nancy” (a pejorative phrase at the time for an effeminate or homosexual man) and a prominent Democrat, writing to President James Polk’s wife, referred to King as President Buchanan’s “better half,” “his wife,” and “Aunt Fancy . . . rigged out in her best clothes.”
Democrat Grover Cleveland was, like Buchanan, a bachelor when he was elected president in 1884. He came to the office of president with a reputation as a ladies’ man while practicing law in Buffalo, New York. After winning the Democrat nomination in 1884, the media reported on his payment of child support in 1874 after an affair with Mrs. Maria Crofts Halpin, who had accused him of fathering her illegitimate 10-year-old son, Oscar Folsom Cleveland. While he never admitted paternity, Cleveland sent child support to Mrs. Halpin.
During the general election, Cleveland was ridiculed by his opponents with the jingle, “Ma, ma, where’s my pa?” After he won the election, his supporters added to the jingle, “Gone to the White House, ha ha ha.” When the scandal broke during the political campaign of 1884, Cleveland told his advisors “Tell them the truth!” Wow, that’s really different. Note that he told the truth and won reelection!
(As an aside, I do wonder if President Trump has instructed his handlers and lawyers to “tell the truth.” Maybe when pigs fly in formation over the White House.)
Republican Warren G. Harding was the 29th president and is considered by many historians as one of our worst presidents. He allegedly had at least 30 affairs while in office that included friends of his wife, his best friend’s wife, female reporters, White House secretaries, chorus girls and a “string of New York women.” At one time, he was reportedly almost caught by his wife while having sex in the Oval Office closet with a young supporter. He also fathered children with some of the loose ladies.
Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s affair with Lucy Mercer, his wife Eleanor’s secretary, is well known and acknowledged by all. When Eleanor found some love letters from Lucy, she threatened divorce which would have destroyed his nascent political career. It is reported that Eleanor threatened to divorce FDR if he didn’t end his relations with Mercer and FDR’s mother promised to cut him off without a cent if he were divorced. FDR was kept on a golden leash by his mother and he caved to his mama — just like he caved to Stalin at Yalta in 1945. Roosevelt promised to break off relations with Mercer. However, she was with him when he died in Warm Springs, Georgia.
FDR is also alleged to have had affairs with his secretary Marguerite Alice (Missy) LeHand (to whom he left a significant bequest) and Princess Märtha of Sweden.The Crown Princess lived at the White House during World War II.
John F. Kennedy was a Democrat who allegedly had sex with friends’ wives and relatives! One of his famous alleged affairs was with Marlene Dietrich, a 60-year-old actress who had also slept with Jack’s father! It is believed that Kennedy slept with several female White House staff members. He even reportedly bedded down his two secretaries known — behind the scenes –as Fiddle and Faddle.
Kennedy had a suite at the Mayflower Hotel where he allegedly entertained a throng of women which may have included stripper Blaze Starr, Kim Novak, Jayne Mansfield, Gene Tierney, Angie Dickinson and Marilyn Monroe.
Kennedy was not circumspect in his affairs; the only qualification seemed to be they must be female. Discretion should be a qualification for being president but Kennedy obviously had no conception of that attribute.
And Trump is being hounded by the media for having been sexually loose and while the media knew of many of JFK’s romps, not a word was printed. Evidently, the public did not always “have a right to know.”
Texas Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson allegedly boasted that he had accidentally bedded more women than Kennedy had on purpose. Among his reported conquests was Madeline Brown, who claimed that they had an affair that lasted more than two decades and that LBJ fathered her son.
Kitty Kelley, the notorious bottom feeder, alleged that George H. W. Bush had affairs involving Jennifer Fitzgerald, a White House deputy chief of protocol, and also an Italian woman. The senior Bush has denied the allegations.
Democrat Bill Clinton’s trysts, affairs, romps, assaults, alleged rapes, etc., with Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaddrick, Sally Perdue, Paula Jones and who knows how many others became the stuff of national scandal.
Two Arkansas state troopers chronicled Clinton’s affairs with dozens of women. Arkansas state trooper Larry D. Brown swore that he personally procured women for Bill’s sexual pleasure!
George W. Bush was haunted by two sex allegations, which he has strongly denied. One involved a criminal complaint and lawsuit of rape by Margie Denise Schoedinger, a black woman from a Houston suburb. She shot herself in the head in 2003 nine months after filing suit against Bush.
The second accusation Bush faced was from former Austin stripper Tammy Phillips, who said she had an affair with Bush that ended in 1999. She was a 35-year-old partner in a Carrollton, Texas gym.
It seems most powerful men need adulation, admiration, and affection from fawning, fickle, fervent — if not faithful — women. And these men have controlled our destiny!
While Stormy weather is ahead for President Trump, I hope it doesn’t sink the Ship of State!
Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years and authored 16 books. Follow Dr. Boys on Facebook at CSTNews and Twitter, and visit his blog.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.