Opinion: Trump already has his wall

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, 83 percent of Americans say that it’s important to them that the president of the United States be loyal to his or her spouse. Among Republicans, it’s even higher, with 86 percent saying that it’s important that the president be faithful in marriage.

Then comes the next question:

“Do you think President Trump has been loyal to his wife throughout his marriage, or don't you think so?”

Just 14 percent of Republicans were willing to admit that Trump has not been faithful.

Remember, this comes days after Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted in official documents filed with the Federal Election Commission that he paid $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence.

It also comes after widespread coverage of Trump's nine-month affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal, including publication of McDougal's journal detailing the affair as it occurred. The Wall Street Journal has reported that David Pecker, the chairman of the National Enquirer and a close Trump ally, paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story and then refused to publish it.

In short, the evidence of Trump’s repeated infidelity is overwhelming. Yet only 14 percent of Republican voters can bring themselves to acknowledge it.

We've seen this phenomenon before, of course. Republicans have historically been extremely supportive of the FBI; in a Reuters poll three years ago, for example, 84 percent of GOP voters viewed the FBI favorably. That support has collapsed as Trump forced his followers to pick a side, him or those liberals in federal law enforcement.

Likewise, Republicans have historically been very suspicious of Vladimir Putin and Russia, until loyalty to Trump forced them to alter their attitudes.  The percentage of Republicans expressing confidence in Putin has doubled in the last two years.

Unfortunately, this is more than some polling curiosity. Look at the overwhelming evidence of Trump’s repeated marital infidelity. Look at the relative low psychic cost of admitting that he treats his marital vows as mere suggestions. Even with all that, just 14 percent of Republicans are willing to admit the truth.

Given that wall of denial, consider how Republicans will respond if Robert Mueller comes back with evidence that the Trump campaign colluded or cooperated with Russia in the 2016 election.  The stakes there will be enormous, up to and including possible impeachment. What are the chances of that finding being given a fair, honest and reality-based hearing?

It’s a lot lower than 14 percent, I’m afraid.