Anyone who’s ever watched Jerry Falwell, Jr. twist his way around slimy explanations for his continued support of a serial adulterer and conman like Donald Trump has wondered how he reconciles that support with his professed religious beliefs. On Tuesday, there was an answer to that question.
OK, um, so, well, I mean.https://t.co/8H4jg5LG1z
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) May 7, 2019
Comedian Tom Arnold taped phone conversations between himself and Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen. Slowly, he’s released them to the press, including one to The Wall Street Journal in which Cohen seemed to walk back his earlier guilty pleas in court. This time, the recorded conversation was much more surprising.
According to Reuters:
‘Months before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s game-changing presidential endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016, Falwell asked Trump fixer Michael Cohen for a personal favor, Cohen said in a recorded conversation reviewed by Reuters.
‘Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.’
Reuters reports that before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed Trump during the election, he reportedly asked Michael Cohen for help handling racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife." https://t.co/QfXP7E9EXe
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 7, 2019
There is no indication of what the “racy photo” might show, but Cohen says his handling of that photo gained Trump the evangelical support he needed at a crucial point in the election. Although most of the photos were destroyed, Cohen claims that he is still in possession of one of them.
‘According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.
‘The Falwells, through a lawyer, declined to comment for this article.’
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 7, 2019
When Trump announced his presidential bid, Cohen leveraged the work he had done for the Falwells in keeping the photos from the public eye to garner his endorsement for Trump. Although Cohen doesn’t indicate that he used the one remaining photo in his possession as leverage, it’s difficult to imagine that it didn’t loom large in Falwell, Jr.’s mind.
‘The Falwells wanted to keep “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from becoming public, Cohen told Arnold. “I actually have one of the photos,” he said, without going into specifics. “It’s terrible.”’
Michael Cohen reportedly says Jerry Falwell Jr. enlisted his help to get rid of "personal" photos https://t.co/9g287V279J
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 7, 2019