Friday, August 12, 2016

He Asked For It

Paul in Galations 6:7 writes "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."  That's not a far cry from "be careful what you wish for."

Perhaps neither applies here, but I needed an introduction.  USA Today reports that parent company Gannett

and The New York Times Co. asked the New York Supreme Court Thursday to unseal the records of Donald Trump's 1990 divorce from Ivana Trump.

The divorce was granted on the ground of "cruel and inhuman treatment" but Donald and Ivana Trump later reached a settlement. The case has percolated through the news over the years, including stories earlier in the presidential campaign season about whether the billionaire, who is now the Republican presidential nominee, sexually assaulted his then-wife.

Given that, according to USA Today, Ivana has "downplayed any reference to assault in the divorce proceedings," still is very friendly with Trump and supports his presidential candidacy, it's not difficult to predict how this plays out if the information is unsaled. We will find out that Mr. Trump did sexually assault Mrs. Trump, to whatever extent and for whatever period of time. Ivana then will deny that it took place.

As people will accurately point out, the behavior took place decades ago and times and mores have changed.

The information also is far less relevant than what is in Donald Trump's tax returns. According to a letter posted on the candidate's website, "examination for retuns for the year 2009 and forward are ongoing," though the IRS will neither confirm nor deny.

Although most taxperts would recommend that such an individual not voluntarily release his tax returns, Mr. Trump is running for President of the United States of America and is free to demonstrate that any speculation is ill-founded.

News outlets would be less interested in the terms of the divorce had the candidate voluntarily made available his tax returns to the public  Understandably but a little disingenuously, Gannett and the NYT argue

It would be deeply incongruous to American democracy to bar the public from seeing the official court records pertaining directly to the credibility and character of a person they must soon decide whether to elect as their president.

It is debatable whether the behavior within a marriage of private citizen Trump over a quarter century ago pertains directly to the individual's fitness for the presidency now. Moreover, Trump never has claimed to have led a lifestyle consistent with the "family values" his current Party emphasized in the past.

However, Gannett and the NYT recognize

"marital fidelity" has become an issue in the presidential campaign, with Trump raising questions about the marriage of Hillary and Bill Clinton and her role in responding to claims of sexual misconduct by her husband.

The sexual habits of a presidential candidate's spouse should not be a consideration in selecting a President. With Ivana now firmly a Trumpist, discerning fact from fiction probably would be difficult were the effort to unseal the records succeed. Yet, in May Donald Trump had maintained

Nobody in this country was was worse than Bill Clinton with women. He was a disaster.  I mean there's never been anybody like this and she was a total enabler. She would go after these women and destroy their lives. I mean have you ever read what Hillary Clinton did to the women that Bill Clinton had affairs with? And they're going after me with women. Give me a break, folks.

Trump voluntarily relinquished any right to a "break," to be inoculated from similar scrutiny, when he himself raised the issue of marital infidelity, especially hyperbolically.  So now add to the other two cliches "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."  If it is revealed that Mr. Trump's hands are dirty, he will have brought it upon himself. He opened up this line of inquiry and the chips (as in Trump's casinos) must fall where they may.

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