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Dark Chapters: Two Presidents, Two Approaches


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Dark Chapters: Two Presidents, Two Approaches


Our two presidents, in question, were Grover Cleveland, our 22nd and 24th president, and Donald Trump, our 45th president.  Cleveland is the only president to have served two non-consecutive terms.  Trump has served nearly three years.  Although Cleveland’s and Trump’s terms of office are separated by many years, they did, in a manner of speaking, have something in common: believed illicit relationship(s).  Yet, these two presidents handled their so-called “dark chapter(s),” quite differently.


When Grover Cleveland began his political career, he was thought of as “squeaky clean”.  Cleveland once said, “It is no credit to me to do right.  I am under no temptation to do wrong.”  


Cleveland had been the sheriff of Erie County, NY, mayor of Buffalo, NY and governor of the state of New York when he ran for the presidency in 1884.  Cleveland seemed like the perfect candidate for the office of president.  In fact, when Cleveland did run for president, Joseph Pulitzer of the “New York World” - in endorsing Cleveland - wrote: “He is an honest man,” (he wrote those words four times in a row) as cited by Jeff Jacoby, Op-Ed writer for “The Boston Globe.”  Jacoby also mentions another quote about Cleveland as to his honesty and trustworthiness: “Not since George Washington had there been a candidate for President so renowned for his rectitude.”  Finally, Cleveland was said to be “incorruptible”.  Yet, there would turn out to be “a fly in (his) ointment.”


On July 21, 1884, the “Buffalo Evening Telegraph” ran a front-page story headed: “A TERRIBLE TALE.  A Dark Chapter in Public Man’s History. The Pitiful History of Maria Halpin and Governor Cleveland’s Son.”


It so happens that Cleveland, then a bachelor and mayor of Buffalo, was reported to have had an affair with a women named Maria Halpin.  As a result of that liaison, a child, Oscar Folsom Cleveland, was born.  To his credit, Cleveland took full responsibility for this child’s birth.  He would provide child support.


As for proof of Cleveland’s paternity (he never denied it), shortly before the 1884 election, the Republican media published an affidavit from Halpin in which she stated that until she met Cleveland, her "life was pure and spotless", and "there is not, and never was, a doubt as to the paternity of our child, and the attempt of Grover Cleveland, or his friends, to couple the name of Oscar Folsom (a friend of Cleveland’s) , or anyone else, with that boy, for that purpose is simply infamous and false.”


During that 1884 “mud-slinging” presidential campaign, James G. Blaine’s supporters, Cleveland’s opponent, would wheel baby- carriages around and call out, “Ma, Ma, Where’s My Pa?”  When Cleveland defeated Blaine (Blaine, for his part, was accused of being “a Continental Liar from the state of Maine”), the words: “Gone to the White House, Ha! Ha! Ha!” were added.


Yet, what should be noted most about all of this is that Cleveland, when confronted with this scandal, told his supporters: “Above all, tell the truth.”


Let’s contrast Cleveland’s comment: “Above all, tell the truth,” with POTUS’s alleged sexual misconduct and the manner in which he’s handled these believed misdeeds. 


I would proffer that Stormy Daniels’s allegations are the most famous - or should I say - most infamous.  Daniels alleges – I submit that if it weren’t factual, why would POTUS’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, plead guilty to making illegal contributions, i.e., “hush money” to the Trump campaign (“Catch ‘n’ Kill!”).  


Further, about this same time, you may recall, there are also allegations that a playboy model, Karen MacDougal, had a sexual relationship with POTUS.  Furthermore, several women have come forward and have alleged that POTUS had engaged in both sexual harassment and assault, i.e., unwanted and inappropriate touching.


Furthermore, there were even teenage beauty-contest entrants, as young as 14- and 15-year-old, who allege that POTUS walked in on them in a state of undress (I find that behavior not only lewd, but bizarre.  Where I come from, we call a person who engages in that type of behavior, a “pervert.”).    


I submit that there may have been “some” alleged cases of sexual misconduct that were unfounded; however, the sheer number of women who have come forward, realizing that they were going to be put through “the ringer,” i.e., continually questioned as to the validity of their remarks, is just too large to ignore.


Personally, I find POTUS’s past “playboy,” “devil-may-care,” “live-it-up,” “do-what-I-want-when-I-want-to” attitude to be not only troubling, but repugnant, especially as he is now serving as role-model in-chief as president of the United States.   


Furthermore, you wouldn’t have to have been a psychotherapist to realize that this reckless-abandon type of behavior is evidence of a severe character flaw, an extreme case of narcissism.  


Over these last three years, I’ve asked myself, in light of POTUS’s “me-first” behavior: “Does the current administration put the American people, our government, and our military first, or does “the egocentric one” put his own interests first and the rest of the country…  I think you get the picture.


Finally, POTUS’s Id-like behavior reminds me of a song from musical, Damn Yankees!  Only in this case, the lyrics go: “Whatever Donald Wants, Donald Gets!” 


In concluding, I say that POTUS could have learned from President Grover Cleveland’s approach.  Cleveland “fessed up”. He accepted the consequences, be what they may.  Cleveland came clean with the American people.  He made a mistake, and he admitted it.  His motto: “Above all, tell the truth.”  Where does that leave our current president?



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