Plus more of her "wildest new claims:" During the disastrous 2016 campaign, Anderson Cooper played pool boy to Donald J. Trump on several striking occasions.
It was good for ratings, then Trump got elected. Now he's playing pool boy to Donald J. Trump's sex accusers. That includes Stephanie Clifford, who didn't want to have sex with Trump, but felt she had pretty much had to:
CLIFFORD (3/25/18): I asked him if I could use his restroom and he said, "Yes, you know, it's through those—through the bedroom, you'll see it." So I—I excused myself and I went to the, the restroom. You know, I was in there for a little bit and came out and he was sitting, you know, on the edge of the bed when I walked out, perched."I realized exactly what I'd gotten myself into?" Gullible customers, please!
COOPER: And when you saw that, what went through your mind?
CLIFFORD: I realized exactly what I'd gotten myself into. And I was like, "Ugh, here we go." (LAUGHS) And I just felt like maybe— (LAUGHS) it was sort of—I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone's room alone and I just heard the voice in my head, "Well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this."
According to Clifford's exciting story, she managed to leave without having sex the second time she went to Trump's room. ("I just took my purse and left.") Assuming any of this is true, she could have done so the first time as well.
If she did have sex that first time, it was because she wanted to, or because she wanted something else. Or at least, so it would perhaps maybe possibly seem.
Cooper challenged no statements by Clifford, asked no real questions. She didn't want to tell the story for money? Then why did she try to sell the story in 2011 for $15,000, then try to sell the story again in 2016, this time to Slate?
Perhaps there would have been a good answer. As when he interviewed Trump in 2016, the pool boy didn't ask.
(In fairness, we agree. He's likable and conventionally good-looking.)
Clifford and Cooper got along well; sometimes it's like that with grifters. For today, let's close our discussion by thinking about a basic, bone-simple distinction, a distinction you meet every day.
At New York magazine, Margaret Hartmann was apparently following the interview in real time. This is the way her piece is headlined on the magazine's Daily Intelligencer site:
What We Learned From the Stormy Daniels 60 Minutes InterviewDid we "learn" anything from the interview? Only if Clifford's statements are true—and at present, there's no particular way to make such assessments.
It may be that most of her claims are true. But at present, there's no real way to know that her statements aren't false.
Hartmann, a professional journalist, shows few signs of understanding any of that. Here's the way her lengthy, rollicking piece begins:
HARTMANN (3/25/18): The Stormy Daniels 60 Minutes interview provided just what you’d expect from a woman who knows how to handle the media as well as she does: a few revelations to fuel the scandal surrounding her alleged 2006 affair with Donald Trump, and a promise that there’s more to come.That "revelation" about the physical threat? Stating the obvious, it's only a "revelation" if the alleged threat actually did occur.
Trump probably wouldn’t have been able to block CBS from airing the interview (though he reportedly considered trying), and it seems Daniels is confident that her nondisclosure agreement will be voided—though Trump’s attorneys claim she already owes him at least $20 million. She told Anderson Cooper that she’s willing to accept the legal risks to clear up the rumors that have been circulating since the story broke in January. “I was perfectly fine saying nothing at all, but I’m not okay with being made out to be a liar, or people thinking that I did this for money,” she said.
The interview’s biggest revelation was Daniels’s claim that after sharing her story with In Touch Weekly magazine in 2011, a man approached her and made what she interpreted as a physical threat, telling her to “leave Trump alone,” then looking at her infant daughter and saying, “It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
Did the alleged threat really occur? Stating the obvious, there's zero way of knowing that, and Clifford's a fairly obvious possible semi-grifter. But Hartmann blusters straight ahead, showing few signs of knowing such things. When the children type up "stories" like this, "claims" tend to meld with "revelations," full entertaining stop.
As Hartmann continued, so did her childish work, marked by her childish inability to draw even the simplest distinctions. Why is your nation currently sliding into the sea? In part, because children like Hartmann have been behaving this way for at least the past thirty-one years:
HARTMANN (continuing directly): If true, there could be serious legal consequences for Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen. And while Cooper later revealed that there are “many, many tawdry details which we did not include in the story because it’s just, you know, that’s not our interest,” there were a few more tidbits about the president’s alleged sexual proclivities. Here are the wildest new claims:"Here are the wildest new claims!" The childish behavior of people like Hartmann strikes us as a major new anthropological mystery. What explains the tendency of journalistic elites to behave in such childish ways?
(In Hartmann's piece, the first of the "wildest new claims" is this: "Spanking Trump With His Own Magazine Cover Wasn’t His Idea." The presentation, in bold headline form, seems to assume that this alleged spanking really did occur. Hartmann doesn't know if the spanking occurred, but keeps obscuring this fact.)
Mother and Father sent Hartmann to Wellesley in the class of 2006. After that, they sent her to BU, where got a master's degree in journalism, emerging in 2008.
You might say she'e "been to the finest schools." Ten years later, this has led to a list of "the wildest new claims," which get presented, in large bold headlines, as if they're established facts.
How do people with every advantage end up performing like this? Could it be the lead exposure? As an alternate possibility, was our human brain simply not designed for social conditions like the ones which now obtain?
We can't answer your thoughtful questions! But on the morrow, we'll move from Hartmann to Lawrence O'Donnell. One of the links within her "wildest new claims" led us to one of his favorite recent points of excitement, an exciting suggestion he didn't bother to correct when it turned out to be wrong.
They've been doing this for the past thirty years. After they finished off Gary Hart, they did this sort of thing first to Clinton, then to Gore, then to the other Clinton. As a result of this decades-long breakdown, Mother and Father are very proud and Donald J. Trump's in the White House.
More tomorrow on Lawrence's claim. Also, what Samuelson said.