A panel of conservative columnists on Wednesday was stunned by the “defining down” of the presidency under Donald Trump, remarking that—despite their irreconcilable differences with former President Barack Obama—they have to admit he was “a class act.”
The panel was responding to the never-ending Stormy Daniels saga, including reports Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen tried to silence the adult film star through a “secret restraining order” last month.
“There is no other presidency where we could possibly be having this conversation,” Foreign Policy columnist Max Boot said. “I mean, could you imagine discussing a previous president paying off a porn star? This would be such huge news, would threaten the very continuation of the presidency. With Donald Trump it's like the tenth story of the day.”
“The Stormy Daniels thing for Trump, this is chump change,” Boot added. “This is minor stuff. Whereas for any other president this is a nuclear blast.”
Referencing Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, CNN’s Don Lemon said “people lost their minds the president lied," but added “no one seems to care when it's President Trump.”
GOP strategist Rick Wilson agreed.
“Imagine for one moment the phrase ‘Barack Obama paid a porn star $130,000,’” Wilson offered. “Or ‘George W. Bush paid a porn star $130,000.’ This country would be in a complete meltdown if that were the case. This country would be having —we would be tearing our hair out and rending our garments if that happened. And in this case it's sort of like we have defined presidency down so far, it’s like ‘Oh, yeah, Trump and porn star. Of course he is with porn stars.’ It's a remarkable moment in the political history.”
“I was critical of President Obama,” Boot later added. “I was a lifelong Republican, I was critical of the Obama presidency. Everybody has to admit that Barack Obama is a class act. He was not an unethical president. He was a great father, husband, leader for our country. A man of—is there anybody in America who can possibly say that Donald Trump makes you proud? He makes me embarrassed. He makes me cringe. I can't imagine there is anybody in the country who is proud to have somebody behaving this way in the White House.”
Even former Bush White House assistant Scott Jennings—who often defends Trump—had to agree with his fellow panelists’ assessments of Obama.
“I think Barack Obama is generally an honorable person,” Jennings said before launching into a ferocious critique of the former president’s foreign policy.
“Having, said, everybody is exactly right,” Jennings said after his anti-Obama diatribe. “If any other president had done this it would be the top story and we had be having a national freakout.”
“The president’s, you know, moral history is already baked into his politics and his approval rating,” Jennings said.
Watch below, via CNN: