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The Faithlessness Of Donald Trump

From a report about former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal’s CNN interview [1] in which she talks about her alleged affair with Donald Trump:

McDougal also tearfully recalls feeling guilty when she went to Trump’s apartment in Trump Tower and he showed her Melania Trump’s bedroom.

McDougal thought it was odd that Trump’s wife slept in a separate bedroom.

‘I thought maybe they were having issues,’ she said.

McDougal recalls feeling uncomfortable walking into the apartment of a married man whose wife just had a baby.

‘I couldn’t wait to get out of the apartment, I think,’ she said.

‘Doing something, doing something wrong is bad enough, and when you’re doing something wrong, and you’re in the middle of somebody else’s home or bed or whatever, that just puts it a little old stab in your heart, and I just couldn’t wait to get out of the apartment.

‘I wanted to go back to my hotel room.’

McDougal expressed regret over the affair, saying she felt guilty. Nonetheless, despite the guilt, she carried on with Trump for the better part of a year.

‘When I look back, I know it’s wrong,’ the 1998 Playmate of the Year said.

‘I’m really sorry for that. I know it’s the wrong thing to do.’

From The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography [2], by David Brody and Scott Lamb:

Lance Wallnau created a Facebook video that went viral with millions of views, to explain how to think about the [Access Hollywood ‘grab-’em-by-the-pussy’] tape. As he had written in his newly released book, Wallnau argued that when Trump married Melania, he “decided that he was going to judge the one area of his life that was out of control. The guy doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke — but he was a womanizer billionaire. And he ended that. He got committed to Melania, and he’s been dedicated to her and to having a rebranded family image ever since then.” Wallnau told us that the reason why the Access video came out when it did was that “the Lord wanted to circumcise him. He wanted to cut away from him any basis for boasting that it was his own strength. He got into the White House by the grace of God, not because of a perfect campaign — because that Access Hollywood thing would have torpedoes anyone other than someone God’s grace was on.”


While Donald Trump has a healthy ego, buckets of self-confidence, and a belief that he can get the job done, he doesn’t leave God out of the equation. He knows God is bigger and better than him. How do we know? He has said it with his own lips, declaring to me on his California golf course that “God is the ultimate! I mean God created this and here’s the Pacific Ocean right behind us … there’s nothing like God.” …

It’s no secret that white, evangelical Christians, while still dominant politically, see their culture slipping away. They’re not the majority they once were and they’ve been looking for that fierce protector. And along came Donald Trump, warts and all. But while the mainstream media was focusing on past blemishes that they thought would derail Trump with evangelicals, what they missed was the cultural link they had with the past: a connection of worldviews that encompassed patriotism, respect for God and Country, a disdain for political correctness, and a restoration of good old-fashioned Judeo-Christian values. The combination struck political gold for Trump and for evangelicals. But it was never fake. It was a solid union made possible by two willing participants: a mega-billionaire who was yearning for the great America he remembered, and evangelicals hoping to rekindle the culture they once knew.

While Donald Trump may have been the unlikeliest vessel, God works in mysterious ways. The same can be said about Trump’s Faith Journey.

Let’s go back for one more excerpt from the McDougal interview:

McDougal, 46, also told CNN that she and Trump had sex on their first date and that she went home afterward ‘crying in the backseat of a car’ when he offered her cash after they made love.

‘After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn’t know how to take that,’ she said.

She said she was hurt by the cash offer, which she turned down.

‘I don’t even know how to describe the look on my face,’ she said. ‘It must have been so sad.’

UPDATE: The comments thread is fascinating. Just putting these excerpts here in juxtaposition, without added commentary, turns them into a Rohrshach test. In fact, you cannot invent satire as rich as this. There is the ogre-like Trump, a man of unsurpassed vulgarity and appetite, who is now the President of the United States. There is this trollop who came to fame by spreading her legs in the pages of a magazine for male degenerates, who was willing to jump into bed with another woman’s husband at the first opportunity, and who was hurt that Trump, by offering her money after sex, accurately read her character; and the Christian media hagiographers, who match and maybe even exceed the achievements of a communist Ministry of Propaganda in inventing a glorious narrative for the Genius of the Carpathians [3] the Outer Boroughs.

We really are a decadent country. All you readers claiming, “JFK did it too” may be right, but you perfectly well know that if any of this had become public back in the day, that would have been the end of JFK. Trump didn’t get us to this point on his own, heaven knows. But he does reveal how very far we have fallen.

81 Comments (Open | Close)

81 Comments To "The Faithlessness Of Donald Trump"

#1 Comment By Protestant Rambler On March 23, 2018 @ 11:37 am

Moral decadence at the end of empire. A great deal of faith will likely be required for what comes next.

#2 Comment By sjb On March 23, 2018 @ 11:41 am

RD: “…you perfectly well know that if any of this had become public back in the day, that would have been the end of JFK. Trump didn’t get us to this point on his own, heaven knows. But he does reveal how very far we have fallen.”

Yes. JFK was pre-sexual liberation movement. At that point, we began the long slide downhill. I’ve had outrage fatigue for a long time.

#3 Comment By tess On March 23, 2018 @ 11:48 am

Only when Trump is humbled to his knees by God will he change anything. No person following Christ behaves in this manner nor call people names. He is not an Evangelical,the thinking is a little different, but if he isn’t humbled now forget it. Melania and Barron have to bear the brunt, how humiliating for her. And then we got Don Jr, like father like son, and all the kids suffer.

#4 Comment By Thomas Aquinas On March 23, 2018 @ 11:54 am

“Also there is a big difference between women who pose nude and women who star in gangbang videos doing unspeakable acts.”

No Luke, there is a big difference between women who pose nude and Mother Teresa.

The difference between soft-core pornography (which Playboy is) and hard-core pornography is the difference between a gateway drug and the harder stuff. Playboy laid the foundation (pardon the pun) for the consumption of the more vile. It’s on a continuum. So, it does differ, but not in kind; just in degree.

#5 Comment By charles cosimano On March 23, 2018 @ 12:10 pm

Rod, I hate to break the news to you but JFK’s affairs were not really much of a secret and if they had really been made public the folks who would have objected would have been treated as hillbillies who escaped the coal mine. It would not have affected him at all, no more than this silliness will affect Trump.

You did not see Washington during the Kennedy years. Imagine a main street lined with strip clubs inhabited by Congressmen.

No one would have cared who mattered and no one cares now except a few bloggers.

#6 Comment By John B On March 23, 2018 @ 12:16 pm

“Trump had sex with women other than his wife!”

My response- yeah? So what?

I didn’t vote for the guy because he was saint! Truth be told, I don’t particularly like him all that much. I voted for him because of the Supreme Court, and because the thought of another Clinton in the Oval Office was vile even to contemplate. He delivered on that promise – putting Betsy Devos in the department of education and passing the tax cut are just big added bonuses. He may be a poltroon, but he’s our poltroon, at least for now, and so far he’s delivering. Doesn’t mean I like the guy or respect him as a man – I don’t and I don’t. But point to anyone on the other side whose any better, and who isn’t filled with hatred towards religious believers?

I can understand our Evangelical brethren tying themselves into knots over this. Fortunately I’m catholic – we have a long history of picking between the lesser evils, and tend to take the long view…

#7 Comment By Joe M On March 23, 2018 @ 12:23 pm

“Bringing up past sins like this is just tabloid garbage for the sake of an agenda… the population that feeds off this garbage. This isn’t about Trump, it is about pandering to a sick population that would rather continue to rehash sins for humiliation purposes … I do not know much at all about Trump’s supposed Christian life (did not vote for him and DC can burn for all I care), but this type media garbage is just hog slop for the filthy hogs who live off this stuff.”

E x a c t l y. Trump is now President, for better or worse. His affairs prior to office seem to have zero relevance to anything and be nobody’s business.

#8 Comment By Joe M On March 23, 2018 @ 12:33 pm

“Rod’s point …is that Evangelical Christian leaders (as well as ordinary followers) have for decades been haranguing their fellow citizens whose sex lives don’t follow the 10 Commandments/the Bible. And stigmatizing them as sinners. Especially (though not exclusively) gays and unmarried sexually active women.”

IOW, lots of evangelicals are hypocrites? Really, who does not already know this all too well? As for “The Faith of Donald Trump,” it sounds utterly bogus, of course. Still, he is still just another man and not a demon. The pile on is as unfortunate as the lame defenses.

#9 Comment By Hunter C On March 23, 2018 @ 12:36 pm

Over the last few days I have seen a fresh round of hand-wringing from social conservative pundits about how unfair it is for John Oliver, Hollywood and so on to pile onto Mike Pence. I mean, most social conservatives here on T.A.C. or wherever else will happily castigate Trump for his vulgarity, but Mike Pence seems to be held up as the president and figurehead they dearly wish they had… and I get the impression that the left’s needling of Pence gets under their skin like almost nothing else. How could anyone be so mean as to come after this saintly man, not merely for his political stances, but for being an old-fashioned gentleman?

Well, reading the comments in this thread relentlessly dehumanizing McDougal for the crime of posing for nude photos and acceding to an adulterous relationship… as a man of the left, I am reminded what exactly disgusts me about the self-congratulatory Pence family’s 19th century values. Modernists like myself realize that every portrait of a chaste, virtuous woman has a pitch-black underside consisting of violent disdain for any woman who does not live up to the ideal of the Madonna.

Can you have social expectations of women to be sexually righteous at all times and all places in their lives without callous disregard for women who fail to meet those standards? The history of sexual politics in the west – and the present of sexual politics in the Muslim world, where female sexual virtue is prized the most highly and guarded the most jealously through law and cultural practice – suggests that no, you can’t.

Please, my conservative friends. Just say the truth out loud: “We believe that women should be held to higher standards of chastity than men, especially rich and/or famous men with the means to financially support a mistress on top of wife and children”. Social conservatives in the third world will be nodding along with you. You can make an argument from that premise. Indeed, your arguments might be taken more seriously once it can be seen that you’re being truthful with them.

But after Trump, after Roy Moore, after Tim Murphy, don’t try to claim that 90% of social conservative political positions aren’t, at the bottom, about punishing “fallen women”. Your side of the culture war has lost every scrap of credibility on that issue.

And while you’re at it, stop acting mystified why those of us on the left are so hateful and vituperative towards Mike Pence. Since his main priority is contriving new ways to punish women who have non-biblically-approved sex, it should be easy to see why we consider it disgusting to see him pat himself on the back for he and his wife’s chaste, faithful marriage. We see it for what it is; preening and making sure he has no conspicuous vulnerabilities so he can safely put his authoritarian boot on all our necks.

[NFR: Wait … what? I condemn Trump’s sexual sins. I condemn Karen McDougal’s. “Don’t try to claim that 90 percent…”. You’re just making stuff up that sounds good to you. I agree about the hypocrisy, but it’s not where you say it is. These same conservative Christians (I among them) condemned Bill Clinton for what he did to the women he exploited. The hypocrisy is not about “fallen women”; it’s about double standards for people we think of as on “our” side. — RD]

#10 Comment By david On March 23, 2018 @ 12:47 pm

I have a question. Nineteen women at least have come forward with stories about him, not all of them consensual. Are some of them lying? Probably. Are all of them lying? Probably not. The reporter who said he forced a kiss on her sounds all too credible as do some of the others. The tape makes the women who came forward sound all too believable. That and his appearances on Howard Stern where he supposedly talked like he did on the tape giving added credibility to his accusers.

So question: If he were a big “D” democrat, not a republican but a democrat, had ran as one which he could easily have done, and won the presidency as a democrat, knowing what we think we “know” now, the tape, the accusers, at least again some of them far too credible, would republicans, would “conservatives” would “Christians” however we define them be calling him for him to resign like they did people on the left? I’m really curious. Are we seeing at least some double standard here?

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 23, 2018 @ 1:32 pm

All you readers claiming, “JFK did it too” may be right, but you perfectly well know that if any of this had become public back in the day, that would have been the end of JFK.

True, but to be completely fair and balanced about this, a lot of people “knew” and there was a tacit agreement among leading politicians, pundits, and journalists that this is not going to be publicized. Only when a key congressional committee chair fell into the Tidal Pool dead drunk while out consorting with a notorious prostitute in his government car with a government chauffer did this kind of stuff begin to see any news coverage.

#12 Comment By Corwin On March 23, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

I think there is a fundamental difference between Trump and past presidents. Clinton and JFK were both able to separate their personal issues, including their extramarital relationships, from their political positions, and manage the government effectively.

For Trump though, they all seem to be part of the same personality. For him, it’s all about conquest, whether a porn star or Iran/North Korea, and pretty much anything in the middle. That is really what worries me most about him.

#13 Comment By Jim Griffith On March 23, 2018 @ 2:28 pm

If the problem with political correctness is that it forces people to deny what are obvious truths simply to avoid the public hassle of it all, the evangelical Trumpkins are the most politically correct interest group in town at this point.

Donald Trump is a degenerate. A revolting degenerate. And he seems to realize it. If any woman agrees to touch him, he just naturally assumes she’s a hooker!

And yet, if anyone dares to say that publicly, like clockwork you can expect the good citizens of the Southern Baptist Convention to rise from their pews, strap on their red hats, and denounce the heretic.

I’d say I don’t think the Christian Right has any idea how many young people they are driving away from Christ with their blatant hypocrisy and mulligan dispensary, but I’m afraid many of them do indeed know, and do not care.

#14 Comment By William Foster On March 23, 2018 @ 2:50 pm

I find it ineffably sad that a man like Al Franken, who managed to escape the prolonged cultural adolescence of “Saturday Night Live” with his one and only marriage intact and grow up into a serious, hard-working policy wonk in his public life and a mensch in his private life, got kicked to the curb, while Trump, a deeply unserious, lazy, willfully ignorant clown in his public life and a serial adulterer and an unrepentant (or worse, insincerely repentant) horndog in his private life, is granted “a Mulligan” and “a do-over” by the likes of Tony Perkins.

If we are, as Rod claims, a decadent country, the Evangelicals must bear a considerable share of the blame.

#15 Comment By Dan Green On March 23, 2018 @ 3:47 pm

Glad I am a realist. Our past and future Presidents are just human. JFK and slick Willie just brought it to the forefront

#16 Comment By Andrea On March 23, 2018 @ 4:08 pm

This is what I assumed he was doing. This is who he is. It still annoys me that a large portion of the voters didn’t care about who he is and what he does, but so be it. I didn’t vote for him. It’s not on my head, I think his wife probably knew what she was getting and it must have been worth it to her.

#17 Comment By Steven On March 23, 2018 @ 4:10 pm

Jim Griffith,

I see things a bit differently. The perception I have is that when people point out that Trump is a degenerate, as often as not (as evidenced by your post and Rod’s juxtapositions), they also use the occasion to allude to how hypocritical Evangelical voters (broadly/as a whole) are (non-sequitur). When Christians don’t respond, the assumed response is generally uncharitable — You’ve already decided what the SBC’s assumed response to your statement is, so unless they explicitly respond differently (which is unlikely), they’re condemned by their silence.

When Christians do respond, they’ve often already been painted as knee-jerkingly defensive, so in that case, too, the response is immediately framed through that Rohrshachian lens.

I don’t disagree that some very vocal representatives of Evangelicalism made (and continue to make) utter fools of themselves when it comes to Trump, but the way things are being framed now, it almost seems like a doomed, self-fulfilling prophecy that the American church is going to suffer. Some healthy self-diagnosis is always helpful, but we need to be careful of painting with too broad a brush.

#18 Comment By March Hare On March 23, 2018 @ 5:34 pm

No, he didn’t accurately read her character. There is a huge difference between casual sex, even casual sex with a married partner, and prostitution.

#19 Comment By Sheila On March 23, 2018 @ 6:20 pm

Many of you who don’t care about Trump’s unChristian sexual behavior don’t see the forest for the trees. The real reason that the mainstream left and their media outlets interview Trump’s multiple adultery partners isn’t to expose or shame him. They’re aware that we all know that he’s a womanizer as well as completely shameless. But leftists want to impel the Evangelical establishment to defend, downplay or ignore Trump’s indiscretions, over and over again. Thus the Evangelical collective will continually display themselves to the rest of America, and the world, as the Scribes and Pharisees that they are. Or at least until Trump runs out of Playboy models.

#20 Comment By Dale McNamee On March 23, 2018 @ 7:25 pm

I wonder where the sympathy and outrage over what “Slick Willy” did to Jaunita Broderick, Katherine Willey,Monica Lewinsky, and other women over his tenure as attorney general and Governor of Arkansas ? And Hillary “stood by her man”…

Everybody went after Roy Moore for what he was accused of… ( Isn’t it kinda funny how fast the “victims” disappeared after he lost the election ? )…

And what of the crimes and treason carried out by Bill and Hillary via her tenure at the State Department and via the “Clinton Initiative ” and the “Clinton Foundation” ?

Especially the four men ( including an ambassador ) whom she abandoned in Benghazi… Four unnecessary deaths…

But, all of that isn’t salacious or interesting or worthy of outrage…

As for Trump, there were 16 other candidates…

I’m mourning that these ( Trump & Hillary ) were the best options for the President of America…

And Gary Johnson & Jill Stein weren’t any prizes either…

#21 Comment By TheMoeSzyslakConnection On March 24, 2018 @ 12:25 am

“a magazine for male degenerates”

That’s a pretty harsh way to describe nearly every adolescent boy of the last 60ish years.

#22 Comment By Duke Leto On March 24, 2018 @ 3:21 am

[NFR: This will no doubt come as a surprise to you, but no, it doesn’t include me. And if it had, I would have been degenerate. Everything about pornography — creating it, consuming it — is immoral. — RD]

Actually I do believe you because you said she “spread her legs” and if you had ever perused a Playboy magazine you would know that all they do is bare their breasts and show their pubic area. There’s quite a big difference, for instance it’s not uncommon for academy award winning actresses to shoot nude scenes in drama movies and they are certainly not “spreading their legs”, e.g. Kate Winslett in Titanic. I think you should issue a retraction and apologize for implying this gal was a total skank.

#23 Comment By Mike M On March 24, 2018 @ 3:34 am

Kennedy raped a 19 year-old virgin in the first lady’s bedroom and later forced her to perform oral sex on colleagues. The public “didn’t know” about his many affairs because the media and other institutions chose to turn a blind eye to them. And it was not just Kennedy. Johnson had affairs, including at least one with some pretty disgusting additional details, and was also known to give subordinates the Louis CK treatment. While, as far as I know, he was never on JFK or LBJ’s level, it was not particularly secret that Eisenhower had had an affair with his secretary during World War II.

Presidents had severe moral failings at any point in our history. And there was plenty of immorality among the founding fathers. Washington’s indiscretions were tamer, but his secretary of state (or third president) was fathering children with a slave girl while his secretary of the treasury was having an affair with a woman who was simultaneously blackmailing him.

So it has been in other countries and in other periods of history, too.

I do not make excuses for Trump here. Sleeping with multiple porn actresses while your wife is at home caring for your baby is disgusting behavior. But (and I’m not necessarily putting Trump on their pedestal), some men who engaged in terrible conduct in their personal lives were excellent presidents. And some of the presidents who appear to have led the most exemplary private lives were awful presidents. In an election, I am interested in how the person will carry out the duties of the office considerably more than I am interested in how they carry out their duties as a husband or father. I am not electing them father of their kids. The idea that I would vote for someone of lesser relevant ability to help shape policies that will effect rates of hunger and homelessness and the economic opportunities available to millions, to make determinations that will decide the likelihood of war, to oversee the conduct of the world’s most powerful military, to control a nuclear arsenal capable of destroying humanity, etc., on the basis that I would feel bad dirtying myself by supporting a lesser spouse seems like the most immoral sort of moral preening.

#24 Comment By JonF On March 24, 2018 @ 8:48 am

Re: I wonder where the sympathy and outrage over what “Slick Willy” did to Jaunita Broderick, Katherine Willey,Monica Lewinsky, and other women over his tenure as attorney general and Governor of Arkansas ?

Whatever was or was not true with the other ladies in the list, Monica Lewinsky was by all her accounts (her own included) a gleeful participants in Clinton’s “affairs of state”. Which does not make the monkey business OK, but does mean she was a sinner not a victim.

#25 Comment By Michael Dooley On March 24, 2018 @ 11:34 am

Are we really supposed to believe evangelicals (or anyone else for that matter) will be respected and influence others if they came out against a political candidate because he/she was divorced and/or had stuck his/her body parts where they didn’t belong? Sorry, that ship left a long time ago.

Divorce and adultery are so extensively prevalent in our country that we have come to see them as simply facts of life. George/Jennifer getting divorced? “Too bad…stuff happens…maybe it’s for the best”. X bonking Y? Good for a snicker; but “since when is it any skin off your nose?”

We may not like it; but, “nobody asked you for your opinion”. Besides, “who are you to judge”? Object too loud and you’ll be denounced as a pharisaical prig. (Folk may not know anything about the Bible and will avoid it like the plague; but they know what it says about Pharisees(legalistic holier-than-thou moral hypocrites) and they’ll use that like a battle-axe.

I don’t like Trump. Never have. But, if you’re going to beat up on evangelicals, censure them for making a bad POLITICAL choice. Otherwise you’re just beating a dead horse.

#26 Comment By Ellimist000 On March 24, 2018 @ 2:34 pm

“E x a c t l y. Trump is now President, for better or worse. His affairs prior to office seem to have zero relevance to anything and be nobody’s business.”

Funny how this logic doesn’t get applied to “immoral liberals” or, for that matter, ANY female politician that did anything tawdry in the past.

I wonder, if the playboy bunny runs for office a decade from now, will you be so generous?

#27 Comment By Ellimist000 On March 24, 2018 @ 2:41 pm

“The irony is, the people who did the most to convince the American public that this sort of behavior was acceptable, were supporters of Hillary Clinton’s husband.”

No the “American public” never really cared about these things, not at least for most of the last 100 years. They cared for the trappings of morality so long as it was used to cudgel the “Other”. Now that their comforts have declined (in large part to their own personal choices and votes) and that it’s “their guy” the hypocrisy is revealed for what it is.

#28 Comment By Ellimist000 On March 24, 2018 @ 2:51 pm

“I think you should issue a retraction and apologize for implying this gal was a total skank.”

Duke, I’m pretty sure most conservatives here would find me disturbingly libertine but let me stop you right there: Adultery DOES make one a total skank.

Therefore, Rod in no way, shape, or form owes our President an apology 😉

(But seriously, this woman, at least at the time, was an absolutely terrible human being. Cheating on a pregnant woman, going to her bedroom? After the guy tried to PAY her? No respect for herself, or anyone else.

Just like Trump)

#29 Comment By Sheila On March 24, 2018 @ 6:21 pm

Michael Dooley,
Are Evangelicals going to stop censuring everyone else’s sexual sins as well? Or just those of politicians they like? A little bit of consistency might not make massive gains in the public but it isn’t as though Evangelicals’ reputation in this regard could be much worse

#30 Comment By Michael Dooley On March 26, 2018 @ 12:16 pm


“Are Evangelicals going to stop censuring everyone else’s sexual sins as well?”.

It is unclear to me in what sense you mean in “everyone”. “Everyone” meaning all politicians or “everyone” in the sense that evangelicals are to cease to sting the conscience of multitudes by their reflection in the Second Table of the Law.

I must point out that the whole Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky escapade and impeachment was TWENTY years ago. The attempt to hold Clinton accountable failed—big time. The public largely stated that, as long as Clinton did his job and did it well, what he did behind doors didn’t matter. Character didn’t count. So old Bill kept his job and became even more popular than ever before. As I recall, not just a few preachers tried to dress this sentiment up in Jesus’ robes and pass it off as “judge not”.

A whole generation has been born since 1998. They have no memory of those days of yore. You might as well talk about 8-track tapes and hippies. But the “lessons” of old Bill are deeply engrained. In the matters of state, don’t look for character. “Put not your trust in princes.”

No. The place to find evangelicals going hard on someone for sexual sins is among their own. “Judgment falls first on the House of the Lord”. (1 Peter 4:17). They are especially hard on their own pastors.

As to your last point, as an Irishman I must reply: there is no situation so bad that it couldn’t get worse.

#31 Comment By jon On March 27, 2018 @ 3:58 pm

Well what comes around goes around, less face it Trump a typical Sleaze-Ball rich guy. The only problem is that sleazeball is POTUS, and I know people keep saying policies matter and we will over look Morals. But Wow, forget poor wife and child, and what about us, because I know the rest of the world is getting good laughs from this mess. Any CEO I know would have been fired 3x over by now.