Franklin Graham Gives Trump 'the Benefit of the Doubt' on Stormy Daniels
On Saturday morning, evangelical leader Franklin Graham said Americans should give President Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt on the alleged affair with former porn star Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels. Graham said Trump had always been honest with him, so he had no reason to doubt the president on these issues.
"Well, I found the president to be truthful with me and when he says he’s going to do something, he does it. And that’s what I appreciate about him. Now did he have an affair with this woman? I have no clue. But I believe at 70 years of age, the president is a much different person today than he was four years ago, five years ago, ten years ago or whatever. And we just have to give the man the benefit of the doubt," Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan’s Purse, told MSNBC's Alex Witt.
"He said he didn’t do it. So okay, let’s say he didn’t do it. But we just have to think of our country," Graham added.
Earlier, the evangelical leader noted that Trump has not "admitted to having an affair with this person. And so, this is just a news story, I don't know if it's accurate."
Unfortunately for Graham, there are reasons to suspect this is more than a "news story." Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 one month before the 2016 presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement.
Both Daniels and Trump have denied the allegations that the businessman had an affair with the former porn star in 2006. In a 2011 interview with In Touch magazine, however, Daniels recalled her relationship with the future president, complete with at least one sex act. In Touch released a full transcript of that interview on Friday. As Politico reported, the interview leaves very little doubt that Trump did indeed cheat on his wife Melania with Daniels on at least one occasion.
Some mocked Graham for giving Trump the benefit of the doubt after condemning former president Bill Clinton's notorious affair with Monica Lewinsky.
"Franklin Graham says that the difference between evangelicals’ statements about Bill Clinton’s behavior and Donald Trump’s is Trump has denied the behavior, and so Graham says he doesn’t know whether to believe it because 'it’s just a news story.'e He says Trump is a truthful man," John Kelly, data and investigations editor at USA TODAY, tweeted.