I swear, the only good thing to come out of the Trump presidency is the saga involving Jerry Falwell, Jr., a gay pool boy, potentially scandalous pictures, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and comedian Tom Arnold.
It’s all a lot to explain, but the first story appeared in August of 2017, the pool boy came into the picture in May of 2018. The other three came into the picture a year later. And now the New York Times has put together a nice chronology of the whole damn story.
If you don’t know what’s going on… I’m jealous. Sit down and read it. You’re going to want to savor this.
While there are so many unanswered questions about the whole saga — Why did Falwell take such an interest in this pool attendant? Are there racy pictures out there? Of what? — the Times story suggests that Falwell’s early endorsement of Donald Trump instead of Ted Cruz had something to do with this controversy.
Rick Tyler, a senior Cruz adviser, called Mr. Falwell to say that if there was ever a good time to make his support official, this was it. That was when Mr. Falwell told him he had learned that he could not make any endorsement in the primaries. “He said his board wouldn’t allow him to endorse,” Mr. Tyler said in an interview.
Around that time, Mr. Falwell was coming under heavy pressure to get behind Mr. Trump, according to someone who spoke to Mr. Falwell then. A few days later, Mr. Falwell announced his endorsement of Mr. Trump, calling him “a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.”
The endorsement made little sense back then. Falwell’s support of Trump now is even more bizarre. But it would make a little more sense if Falwell felt a sense of obligation to Trump or Cohen for… other reasons.
Seriously, why take interest in a complete stranger due to his “ambition,” start traveling around with him, then help him out with some business ventures? The story makes no sense unless there’s something scandalous Falwell wants to hide.
To quote Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:
On balance, I’d say it’s quite unlikely that there’s not some story here that would be quite damaging to the Falwells and that there are pictures. Clearly, whatever role Falwell played in securing evangelical support during the 2016 campaign, it is now deeply embedded and ingrained far past what any personal scandal could undo. But it does also point toward the pervasive role of extortion, compromising information and strong-arming in the Trump world.
Again, there are way too many unanswered questions, and Falwell doesn’t seem to want to talk about any of it. So I guess we’ll all just have to speculate. Forever.
In the meantime, “pool boy” will remain a stand-alone punchline anytime Falwell’s name comes up.