Columnist: Trump can follow Bill Clinton's example in dealing with Stormy Daniels

 May 10, 2024

Adult film star Stormy Daniels turned up at former President Donald Trump's New York criminal trial this week, and her testimony was so salacious that even Judge Juan Merchan called her level of detail "unnecessary."

While many critics believe that prosecutors called Daniels as a way to damage Trump's reputation, one columnist suggested that Bill Clinton could provide him with a survival guide. 

Clinton prevailed despite multiple scandals

Nick Bryant writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, and he noted in an op-ed published this week that "presidential politics went tabloid in the early 1990s."

He attributed the change to "a muckraking supermarket trash sheet" which "published allegations that the then governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, had an extramarital affair with a cabaret singer, Gennifer Flowers."

However, the scandal did not kill off Clinton's presidential aspirations, with a subsequent New Hampshire primary victory garnering him the title "Comeback Kid."

Nor was this the last time that Clinton would escape being held back by sleaze, as he ended his time in the White House with a strong approval rating among Democrats despite being impeached for lying about an affair with an intern.

Clinton emphasized "the partisan over the personal"

According to Bryant, Clinton's success lay with the way "he reframed the fundamental question at the heart of each controversy."

Specifically, the 43rd president was able to emphasize "the partisan over the personal" and shift the essential question from "Who do you believe?" to "Whose side are you on?"

"I am not suggesting that Trump will suffer no collateral damage from Stormy Daniels’ testimony. Many wavering voters are fed up with chaos," Bryant wrote.

What's more, he acknowledged that there are multiple polls which suggest a criminal conviction would tarnish Trump in the eyes of some Americans.

Trump supporters see "trial through a partisan lens"

However, Bryant maintains that Trump seems almost uniquely suited to adopting Clinton's playbook of contextualizing scandal.

"Indeed, when the Access Hollywood tape emerged, in which Trump boasted of grabbing women by their genitalia, he claimed that he had heard Bill Clinton say worse things on the golf course," Bryant recalled.

He stressed that Trump's "supporters view this trial through a partisan lens," adding that for them it's "not a question of who do you believe but rather whose side are you on?"

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