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Analysis: Why conservatives tolerate a stormy presidency

Eric Garcia, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- On Monday night, President Donald Trump held the big reveal of his Supreme Court reality show.

Ever the one for ratings, Trump knew he won "big league" with social conservatives last year when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the high court.

In fact, "But Gorsuch" stress balls were handed out at a meeting of the Federalist Society last year as a joke to reassure uneasy conservatives that they had made the right choice in backing Trump despite their misgivings.

In fact, Leonard Leo, a Federalist Society executive, advised Trump on his pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Social conservative groups immediately praised Trump's selection Monday of Brett Kavanaugh.

"He is exceptionally qualified for the role and will no doubt serve as a fair, independent judge who will remain faithful to the Constitution," the March For Life, which opposes abortion rights, said in a statement.

But at the same time Trump was making his announcement, a reminder of the president's tabloidy personal life was finishing her first performance of the night.

At Washington's Cloakroom gentlemen's club, Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress who goes by Stormy Daniels, appeared for the first of a two-night stand.

Clifford, of course, has stayed in the headlines (and her attorney Michael Avenatti has stayed on cable TV) since she said in January that she had an affair with Trump in 2005 and was paid $130,000 in 2016 to keep quiet about it by Trump's longtime fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen.

After waiting for her for more than 2 1/2 hours, the audience (many of whom were journalists) heard an introduction that played heavy on her Trump connection -- the emcee bragged that Daniels' "60 Minutes" interview was the most-watched in a decade.

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