NeverTrump’s Creepy Infatuation with Stormy Daniels

If NeverTrump was a class full of adolescent boys, none of them could go up to the front of the class to work on the blackboard right now, if you know what I mean.

Since this is a family publication (more or less), I will leave it to our sharp-witted American Greatness readers to figure out why.

NeverTrumpers have a juvenile—if not downright creepy—obsession with Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), the “adult film” “actress” who claims she had a one-night fling with Donald Trump in 2006. Since news surfaced in January that Trump’s lawyer allegedly paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep their sexual encounter a secret, voyeuristic NeverTrumpers such as Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol have been fixated on her. If I were Mrs. NeverTrump, I might want to check around the computer for used tissues and old tube socks. I mean, I understand these nerds didn’t get to hook up with the homecoming queen in high school, but sheesh: Give it a rest already.

Now that it is increasingly unlikely Special Counsel Robert Mueller will deliver the goods to ruin the president, NeverTrump has replaced a prosecutor with a porn star as its new mascot. Daniels is their latest cudgel to blast evangelicals (Roy Moore is happy to surrender that role), preen about their moral superiority, and tsk-tsk about how they’ve been right all along that Trump doesn’t have the moral character to be president of the United States. Kristol fantasizes how Trump “could be taken down by Stormy Daniels” and insists Daniels and the Mueller investigation will somehow intersect.

Don’t Believe the Hype
In the warped mind of a NeverTrumper, a man who deputized federal bureaucrats to crack down on his political foes and besiege an incoming presidency is A-OK because he was a swell husband and father. That might explain why Goldberg and company continue overlooking what might be the biggest political scandal ever in order to slobber about an alleged one-night stand between Trump and a woman who has sex on camera for money a decade before he ran for president. That kind of intellectual dishonesty propels you to write things like: “Obama is a decent man who did what his voters asked him to do, even when it was wrong.”

When you’re done rolling on the floor laughing, I will explain where that preposterous line came from: It was written by Death of Expertise author Tom Nichols, who, like Goldberg and Kristol, is completely losing his mind that Trump is still standing 14 months after his inauguration. Nichols wrote that pathetic defense of Obama’s failed presidency in a USA Today op-ed last week. “From Stormy Daniels to John Bolton,” he declared, “the United States of America will not recover from the presidency of Donald Trump.”

Nichols, a bit of a drama queen, doesn’t provide any explicit reason for why this great nation won’t recover from the opportunistic machinations of an “actress” whose 15 minutes of sex with a 60-year-old man in 2006 has earned her waaay more than the 15 minutes of fame she deserves. But hey, if Nichols is deluded enough to believe that Barack Obama was a stooge of his sycophantic supporters, he’ll believe pretty much anything.

Jonah Goldberg’s Role-Playing Fantasy
But no one seems to have a case of the Stormys as bad as 
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg. You’d think a guy who regularly gets his lunch handed to him on Fox News by Mollie Hemingway would spend more time researching the substantive issues of the day than cranking out piece after piece about a sketchy adult entertainer. (As he stumbled over the details of the House Intelligence Committee report that found no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, Goldberg yelled at Hemingway on-air and claimed the collusion narrative “is not part of the Washington consensus, not even remotely part of the Washington consensus.” Say what?)

Since mid-January, Goldberg has written about Daniels several times; he has devoted three columns to her in just the past three days. In Jonah’s mind, Daniels is the hero and Trump is the villain: “But the only person who seems to have really figured out how to navigate through it all with her head held high [emphasis added] starred in such classic films as The Witches of Breastwick, Porking with Pride 2, and Trailer Trash Nurses 6.” A woman who previously insisted the tryst with Trump did not happen, and now is capitalizing on her newfound fame by selling $14.99 memberships to her website, is the noble character in Goldberg’s role-playing fantasy. And he knows her movies. Gross.

Similar to his needling Republican voters who supported Roy Moore, Goldberg is demanding a full-throated repudiation by every Trump voter for his alleged Stormy rendezvous. If you don’t condemn it, you condone it, according to Goldberg’s Rules. After Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview, Goldberg doubled-down on his faux comparisons between Trump’s dalliances and the egregious history of sexual misconduct by Democratic politicians:

“Someone needs to explain to these guys that if you made a big deal about Democratic sexual impropriety and don’t about Republican sexual impropriety, you’re just as hypocritical as the liberals who didn’t make a big deal about Democrats’ misbehavior but do about Republicans’.”

This is a classic example of false equivalence, as if the behavior of Bill Clinton or Anthony Weiner or Ted Kennedy or any number of randy Democratic politicians is similar to what Trump purportedly did as a private citizen in a hotel room during George W. Bush’s second term.. And the “big deal” is that these politicians leveraged their power and position while serving in elected office to seduce, harass, exploit, and assault women.

Goldberg didn’t give up his grind on social media Monday. He tweeted this:

The True Hypocrisy
What is the point? If every conservative who voted for Trump for a myriad of reasons said, gee, Jonah, you’re right!, Trump shouldn’t have nailed a porn star 12 years ago while he was married to his current wife—where does that get us? Does it restore conservatism’s long-ago squandered credibility and waning political appeal?
No. Does it absolve Trump voters of the unforgivable sin—in Goldberg’s eyes—of voting for Trump? No. Its only purpose is to give NeverTrumpers like Goldberg an “I-told-you-so” moment in a weak defense of a movement they helped decimate.

Here’s what’s truly hypocritical: Ignoring a real scandal with wide-ranging consequence for our country and the rule of law while spitting in the wind about something that may or may not have happened and that has zero impact on our future.

This is yet another example of how the high-minded, “conservative” anti-Trump tribe continues to misread the political temperature and misjudge the electorate. Trump didn’t kill conservatism; the NeverTrumpers did with their moralistic preening, condescension, and browbeating. Now they are looking for someone else to blame and peddling a porn star to make their point. Stormy needs to mete out a few more spankings.

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Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right and Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of the “Happy Hour Podcast with Julie and Liz.” She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Photo: POMPANO BEACH, FL - MARCH 09: The actress Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, performs at the Solid Gold Fort Lauderdale strip club on March 9, 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Stephanie Clifford who claims to have had an affair with President Trump has filed a suit against him in an attempt to nullify a nondisclosure deal with Trump attorney Michael Cohen days before Trump's 2016 presidential victory. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)