To whom, exactly, are they supposed to matter? Evangelicals gave up caring about things like this when they voted en masse to nominate Trump. The spectacle of Trump the twice-divorced ladies’ man bedding down beautiful women has been a core part of his image for decades. The guy once famously joked that he survived his “personal Vietnam” by sleeping around New York without contracting an STD. All of this was known to and/or easily discoverable by Christian voters. For cripes sake, Jerry Falwell Jr posed for a photo with Trump right in front of the old “Playboy” cover on which Trump was featured. Trump was destined to have some sort of professional relationship with Hefner’s magazine, in fact, since both got famous fulfilling the same male fantasy. Trump sells himself as the guy you want to be, with enough fame and money to get anything he desires, and “Playboy” sells itself by showing off what men desire most. (Trump’s interest in the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants probably runs along the same lines. Nothing shows high male status like being surrounded by beautiful women.) He is, literally, one of the country’s most famous playboys. How would he not end up on the cover, or briefly in a video, eventually?
In fact, according to a Sun-Sentinel story published in 1990, he went further than that:
Notably, [Marla Maples] did resist Trump’s insistence that she accept Playboy magazine’s million-dollar centerfold offer. “Trump himself was on the phone negotiating the fee,” remembers a top Playboy editor. “He wanted her to do the nude layout. She didn’t.” (“I’m thankful for my body, but I didn’t want to exploit it,” Marla offers. “How would I ever be taken seriously?”)
All of this has been priced into his political stock since the beginning. He’s not losing any votes over it now regardless of whether or not conservatives would have been scandalized by a similar pre-presidential “Playboy” video cameo by Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. The fallback argument, presented near the end of the clip by Andrew Kaczynski, is that Trump’s a hypocrite for criticizing Alicia Machado’s “sex tape” after he participated in the “Playboy” stuff:
Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2016
Eh. By “sex tape,” I think he was referring to an explicit video that didn’t actually feature Machado but was being cited by his fans online, not the reality-show video that Kaczynski mentions. Either way, though, you don’t need the “Playboy” cameos to know that Trump’s not really offended by sex tapes. How could he be given his libertine past? He’s talked about other famous sex tapes from time to time over the years and, predictably, his outrage tends to be selective depending upon whether he’s well disposed to the star or not. That’s how he always is — if you’re good to Trump, he’s good to you, and if not, not. I think the public is savvy enough about his approach to people by now to know that, and to discount his criticism of Machado accordingly. In which case, again, the hypocrisy is already priced in.