We’re living in truly surreal times. A carnival-barking, political ignoramus with uncanny white nationalist support is a major-party presidential candidate, and a disgraced congressman and husband of a top aide to his opponent just got busted — again — for sexting other women, this time with his young son asleep beside him.
That Donald Trump and Anthony Weiner exist at all is pretty incredible. They are the political versions of Mel Gibson and Tiger Woods, guys so unimaginably gross and stupid they should not be rewarded with any kind of celebrity or power. But the dark, cosmic forces of the universe — and Twitter — have actually brought them together, creating a supernova of repulsion. And while Trump is trying to tie Weiner to Hillary Clinton, his own ties deserve serious scrutiny.
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It’s safe to say Trump has been obsessed with Anthony Weiner for a while now, and it started before Weinergate happened. Before Trump thought Weiner a dangerous pervert, he thought him a super public servant. Federal Election Commission reports show he donated a total of $4,300 to Weiner’s congressional campaigns in 2007 and 2010 — presumably because, as many conservative Trump detractors have been saying for a while now, Trump is actually a New York City liberal.
But as Trump began to run his mouth on a host of issues, including President Obama’s birthplace and college transcripts, Weiner turned on the mogul. From there, Trump would never let an attack go unanswered. And when Weiner’s sexting scandal broke, no one was giddier than he was. As a member of Trump’s inner circle told Yahoo News, the scandal was “personal” for him.
At the time the story came out, Trump was quick to gloat:
“I know him very well. He called me all the time looking for campaign contributions. It would never stop. The fact is Anthony Weiner is a bad guy. He’s a psycho, and when this came out, I was not surprised at all.”
Over the years, he has rivaled tabloid headline writers, calling Weiner a “sexual pervert,” a “whacko sicko sexter” and a “sick puppy.” At one point he even suggested that Weiner’s actions were criminal.
“Is Anthony Weiner also delusional? Add him to the New York sex offender list instead.”
When he launched his bid for president, and Hillary Clinton’s email scandal broke, Trump made some whiffs at linking Clinton and Weiner on Twitter. Last August: “It came out that Huma Abedin knows all about Hillary’s private illegal emails. Huma’s PR husband, Anthony Weiner, will tell the world.”
It’s a line he’s renewing in the wake of Weiner’s latest sexting scandal and news that Abedin is separating from him. He said in a statement: “I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information.”
It’s an allegation that isn’t without merit. Retired intelligence officer Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer said it “would be an intelligence operative’s ‘wet dream’ to find this opportunity to gain access to intelligence and have the ability to manipulate a nation’s political figures with such direct access.”
But while Trump’s concern over blackmail might be sincere, his distaste for Weiner’s pervy behavior is not, and likely never was. Remember, Trump is a guy who physically cheated on his first wife, and bragged in a book about other adultery, writing “If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller.”
To our knowledge, Weiner has never physically cheated on anyone.
In 2013, during Weiner’s failed attempt at a political comeback in a New York City mayoral bid, Trump tweeted out, referring to his online pseudonym:
“For the sake of New York City, all recent sexting victims of Anthony ‘Carlos Danger’ Weiner should come forward.”
First, I’m not so sure you’d call them victims, but willing participants.
What’s remarkable, though, is that Trump’s own inner circle makes Weiner’s online dalliances look like Sunday School.
Trump’s new campaign CEO Steve Bannon was once charged with domestic violence, later dropped. Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski faced battery charges, which were also dropped, for grabbing a female reporter. Recently ousted Fox News head Roger Ailes is reportedly prepping Trump for debates while facing multiple sexual harassment lawsuits of his own.
And Trump himself has been accused by at least three women of rape or attempted rape, one of whom was 13 years old at the time.
But even if all the allegations against Trump and his boys club of advisors are false, shouldn’t the mere suggestion of impropriety be enough to outrage the guy who thinks sexting should put Weiner on a sex offender list?
The truth is, Trump doesn’t care about Weiner’s “victims.” In fact, Weiner’s just the kind of guy he seems to surround himself with — a loudmouthed misogynist who at the very least has some serious issues with women. Trump may want Weiner’s sex scandal to tell you something about Clinton. But it actually tells you a lot about himself.
Contact Cupp at thesecupp.com
This column originally appeared in the New York Daily News.
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