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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Two-thirds of Americans believe Trump did it

By contrast, just 21 percent believe Trump's denials, according to a new CNN survey
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As President Donald Trump's "deafening" and uncharacteristic silence on his alleged affairs with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal continues even in the aftermath of Daniels' widely-viewed "60 Minutes" interview Sunday night
a new CNN survey published on Monday found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the women over Trump's denials.

By contrast, just 21 percent of Americans believe Trump, the survey found.

The poll also showed a majority of Americans—51 percent—believe the women alleging affairs with Trump "should be free to talk about any relationships" they had with the president, an indication they should not be bound by any non-disclosure agreements they may have signed.

While Trump has yet to address the affair allegations directly—despite being bombarded with questions by reporters at nearly every turn—the president has issued denials through the White House communications team.

During a press briefing on Monday, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah refused to confirm whether or not the president had watched the "60 Minutes" episode, but then insisted that Trump "doesn't believe that any of the claims Ms. Daniels made in the ["60 Minutes"] interview are accurate."

Trump's silence on the affair allegations has increasingly become a focal point of news analyses in recent days, particularly given the speed with which the president usually responds to his detractors on Twitter.

"Trump—the man who called his approximately dozen female accusers 'liars' during the campaign, the man who can't or won't follow basic talking points while talking to Vladimir Putin—remains completely silent on Daniels," noted the Washington Post's Aaron Blake in an article on Monday. 

"This White House has never been a beacon of transparency, but even for it, that silence is pretty deafening. And it suggests that regardless of how accurate Daniels' portrayal of the underlying events is, it's got problems."

Meanwhile in an op-ed at The Hill on Tuesday, political columnist Krystal Ball championed Daniels for speaking out against Trump, calling her a "feminist heroine" for refusing to stay silent despite the threats made against her and the predictable vitriol she has had to face.

"The sniveling enablers of a president who destroys every norm in American politics, the cowards who can’t stand up to a misogynistic bully who tramples the Constitution, threatens our allies and is a pathological liar—those people are not better than Stephanie Clifford," wrote Ball.

If standing up to Trump in the manner she has done is not "feminist heroism," Ball concluded, "I don't know what is."