Well now, President Trump. It appears you are embroiled in your very first potential sex scandal as the president of these United States! You must be so excited, and maybe a little nervous. Just remember, there’s a first time for everyone, and it helps if you relax.
What’s that, you say? This isn’t your first sex scandal? It’s true that all those horrifying accusations of sexual misconduct — 19 women, if I remember right? — were a scandal all of their own, albeit one you powered through. But that’s not a “sex scandal” — that’s a bevy of accusations of criminal and/or disgraceful behavior.
But in this country, at least until recently, we have a tradition of elevating extra-marital affairs as the most scandalous kind of politician sex — perhaps in part because the sex is consensual (It’s a good word, ask one of your enablers to look it up. It’s one of the best words.)
But that obsession with cheating politicians — and with consensual politician sex in general — seems to be changing, and it presents you with an opportunity to do the one truly good thing in your presidency.
If you play this right, you have the chance to go down in history as the man who ended our country’s strange fixation on the extramarital affair as the height of political scandal. And more importantly, if you just embraced your truest self and spoke from the heart, you could remind your base — and the Republican establishment that both fears and courts it — that there’s really nothing wrong with porn, or the beautiful and smart people who produce it.
Here’s how it would work. Unfortunately, in this case you can’t “get ahead of the story,” as we in the amateur PR profession say: Despite a six-figure payout just before Election Day last year, and whatever happened in 2011 that convinced InTouch to kill their story, the news is out there. So the next best option is to throw yourself right into it. You should hold a press conference, preferably right under the Washington Monument (symbolism is key here) and say this to the assembled White House press corps:
“I want to address the rumors that I had an affair with Stormy Daniels. I believe marriage is sacred. It took me a couple tries before I met the woman I so clearly love and passionately respect, but here we are. And it’s been a bumpy road, but today we are gloriously blissful and extremely relaxed, as is clearly evident when you see any photograph of us together. I ask that you respect not just our privacy, but that of Ms. Daniels, a person with whom I may or may not have traveled to Bonetown with on several mutually satisfying and consenting adult occasions.
“I’ve seen some stories that speak disparagingly of her career, and that is wrong. Who among us hasn’t partaken in the sexual economy in one way or another? Sex work is work, and should be decriminalized and regulated. That’s why today I’m introducing a program to…”
And then boom! You suddenly announce a campaign to make sex work legal and to encourage unionization of prostitutes as well as fair pay for adult-film workers. Everyone will be absolutely stunned.
This is the winning move, Mr. President: Surprise the hell out of ‘em! When they zig, you zag! Do the last thing anyone would ever expect of you: Treat women like human beings!
You could turn this sex scandal into a victory for sex positivity — the very opposite of everything your presidency currently stands for. Declare your support for comprehensive, real sex education in public schools. Proclaim that condoms and birth control should be readily available to teens without parental permission. Tell LGBTQ people you love them, and tell ICE to lay off its ruthless campaign against immigrant-sex workers. Keep same-sex marriage legal. Make the sad elves at the MAGA factory start stitching merch emblazoned with a poignant phrase like “SLUT SHAMING SUCKS, STOP DOING THAT.”
Not only will everybody be too confused, delighted, angry and/or terrified to pay attention to the Stormy Daniels thing, you’ll actually get something decent done for humanity. And with approval numbers in the 30s, you need to make a big play for some of the whores — what other people call “women” — who voted for Hillary Clinton, may she live a thousand more years in the gentle light of a woodsy Chappaqua sunrise.
I’ve got a ton of other ideas for you — like “stop forcing your cruel racism into public policy” — but this will do for now. You’ll probably get a National Organization for Women Trailblazer Award or something. I don’t even know if that’s an award they have, but if not, they’ll make it happen for you.
The most shocking thing you could do would be to treat women well. This would be a start.
Sara Benincasa is an author, comedian and writer of scripts, essays, advertisements and many other things.