Have other women been paid to keep quiet about trysts with Trump?
"I have no knowledge of that, but I would think if it was necessary, yes," Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani confided to George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."
So far, the 1920 Republican National Committee leads the league in shelling out hush money to presidential paramours.
Team Trump tried to buy Stormy Daniels’s silence for $130,000. But the RNC had to dig deeper into party coffers to keep Carrie Phillips from spilling the beans about her affair with Warren G. Harding, the party’s presidential nominee 98 years ago.
Nervous GOP bigwigs proffered cash and purportedly a free trip around the world.
“Phillips was a worldly woman—she hung the threat of exposure over Harding’s head to great profit," Jordan Michael Smith wrote in Politico in 2015.
The RNC promised her between $20,000 and $25,000, plus a monthly payment of $5,000 for as long as Harding was president, according to Smith. Harding died in office on Aug. 2, 1923. (Smith said the $20,000-25,000 bribe alone equaled more than $297,000 in 2015.)
The ocean voyage came with a catch: Phillips and her husband Jim had to stay abroad until after the election. Anyway, she took the cash and allegedly the trip.
His secret safe, Harding buried Democrat and fellow Ohioan James M. Cox in a landslide.
Smith's article appeared after DNA tests proved Harding fathered a love child with Nan Britton, his most famous mistress, but more on that in a minute.
Smith's story was headlined, "America's Horniest President." President Trump's reputed sexcapades might make him a contender for the title.
Harding reportedly ended his assignation with Phillips in 1920, three years after he took up with Britton. No matter, Phillips had the goods on “Handsome Harding:” a stack of steamy love letters. The missives are in the Library of Congress, where Harding's family managed to keep them sealed under a court order until 2014.
Daniels' hush money came with a nondisclosure agreement. Even so, the adult film star says she had sex with Trump in 2006 after he married model Melania Knavs, his third wife. Trump denies the fling.
Harding and Phillips were clandestine lovers for 15 years. The Harding-Britton dalliance apparently began in 1917 and lasted until death parted the paramours. Little Elizabeth Anne was born in 1919.
Warren and Phillips supposedly began seeing each on the sly in 1905. He was elected Ohio lieutenant governor the year before.
Harding married divorcee Florence Mabel Kling DeWolfe in 1891. Carrie's spouse was Harding's longtime friend; both couples, and Britton, were from Marion, Ohio.
When Britton and Harding began their tryst, she was 20 and unmarried and he was a 51-year-old U.S. senator.
Smith quoted her account of their first romantic rendezvous. He evidently found the passage in The President's Daughter, Britton's kiss-and-tell book: “I remember so well I wore a pink linen dress which was rather short and enhanced the little-girl look.”
Phillips's recollection invites comparisons between Harding and Trump-backed Republican Roy Moore, who last December lost a special Alabama U.S. Senate race after he was credibly accused of pedophilia.
But the most obvious parallels are between presidents 29 and 45, both of whom endorsed payola to hide hanky-panky.
Trump’s most faithful fans are white, conservative, Bible-Belt Protestant evangelicals (like Moore). In 1920, the GOP pitched Harding to the same sort of "values voters" as a patriotic, law-abiding Buckeye State Baptist and faithful husband.
Both bragged about their sexual prowess--Trump most notably in the "Access Hollywood" tapes. Harding dubbed his penis "Jerry," Smith wrote.
In addition, some of Trump’s most faithful fans are white, conservative, Bible-Belt Protestant evangelicals (like Moore). In 1920, the GOP pitched Harding to the same sort of "values voters" as a patriotic, law-abiding Buckeye State Baptist and faithful husband.
Not only did Harding cheat on his wife, he also chewed tobacco, gambled and drank, the latter habit in defiance of teetotaling evangelicals' favorite law of the land: prohibition.
Harding's bootlegger brought booze to the White House in broad daylight. He shared the hooch with "the Ohio Gang," his cigar-puffing, card-playing playing pals from back home. (Reporters chose not to write about the president's infidelity and liquor runs.)
Harding may have had mistresses besides Phillips and Britton. There was talk of another love child.
Today, most historians rate Harding as one of the worst presidents, but not because he was a prolific philanderer. His administration was rife with money-grubbing political corruption; the infamous Teapot Dome scandal symbolized the seamy side of Harding's presidency.
Britton waited until after Harding was dead to pen The President’s Daughter. The first book about presidential infidelity, it came out in 1927.
She didn’t spare readers the titillating details. Britton claimed that she and Harding had sex in a White House cloak closet with a Secret Service man standing guard against the First Lady, who nearly caught them.
Harding’s defenders denounced the book as bogus. Some of the late president's friends said he couldn't have fathered a child because a boyhood bout with the mumps left him sterile. (The First Couple had no children.)
Harding secretly paid child support for Elizabeth Ann—payments hand-delivered by the Secret Service, according to Smith—though he never met his daughter. She married, had three children and died in 2005 at age 86. Ten years later, DNA evidence confirmed that she was the president’s daughter.
“It’s a good thing I’m not a woman,” Harding confessed to reporters while he was president. “I would always be pregnant. I can’t say no.”
Florence Harding died in 1924. Somebody said that when she was buried next to her spouse, it was the first time the couple had slept together in years.
Before the balloting in 1920, scathing satirist H.L. Mencken mauled Harding and Cox, Ohio's governor, in his paper, the Baltimore Evening Sun: "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
[dc]"S[/dc]o much of the scorn that Mencken heaped on the politicians of his day appears startlingly relevant to the politicians of today," G. Jefferson Price III wrote in the Sun shortly after Trump won.
In the spirit of the long-gone "Bad Boy of Baltimore," Price cautioned that "moron" might "be too benign a designation for the danger that Mr. Trump represents."