On Friday, Wall Street Journal dropped a report that shortly before the 2016 election, Donald Trump’s long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid off an adult film star who was planning to speak to go public with claims that she and Trump had an affair years ago. Per the Journal:
A lawyer for President Donald Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to a former adult-film star a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that precluded her from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.
Michael Cohen, who spent nearly a decade as a top attorney at the Trump Organization, arranged payment to the woman, Stephanie Clifford, in October 2016 after her lawyer negotiated the nondisclosure agreement with Mr. Cohen, these people said.
Ms. Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, has privately alleged the encounter with Mr. Trump took place after they met at a July 2006 celebrity golf tournament on the shore of Lake Tahoe, these people said. Mr. Trump married Melania Trump in 2005.
Other news organizations have followed up with stories that seem to corroborate the Journal‘s reporting, but, honestly, Trump could probably skate by this without bothering to deny any of it. There’s been no shortage of botched crises or outright scandals already during his short tenure as president. He’s said that he doesn’t want non-white immigrants coming to the U.S., insulted a major ally over the physical location of an embassy, and decreed that oil companies can drill off the coast of every state—except, of course, swing states.
And those are just this week. But one of Trump’s greatest assets is this unending siege of bad ideas, bad policy, and bad news. It’s such a wall of noise around him that no one racist gaffe or nakedly greedy decision sticks to him for very long. It keeps his critics from being able to focus on one thread for longer than a news cycle and frees his supporters to brush off any criticism: The left is always calling Trump racist or corrupt or inept, they need to get a new line.
That’s not to claim that he’s masterminding an endless stream of scandals to keep himself safe. He’s just so well-suited to the modern political environment that he could just stumble through this and be totally fine—because he’s been stumbling blindly this whole time and remained totally fine.