A bombshell Reuters piece featured on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show says leading Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr may have been blackmailed by Michael Cohen into endorsing then presidential candidate Trump during the 2016 GOP primaries. As Maddow correctly points out, it was widely expected that Jerry Falwell Jr and other leading Evangelicals would throw their support behind Ted Cruz who at that time was very popular among Evangelicals.
However in a strange turn of events, Falwell Jr endorsed the Trump candidacy right before the crucial 2016 Iowa caucus. We now find out that days before endorsing Trump, then Trump attorney Michael Cohen had “taken care of” a situation involving racy photos of Falwell Jr and his wife. Specifically, someone was blackmailing Jerry Falwell Jr and his wife using their racy personal photos. Jerry Falwell Jr enlisted Cohen’s services (the “Fixer”) to get the photos from the blackmailer. Cohen apparently succeeded in the mission but according to the Reuters piece, kept one of the racy photos as leverage over the Falwells. According to Maddow, shortly after Jerry Falwell Jr found out that Michael Cohen had retained one of the racy photos, he abruptly endorsed Trump for president even though he had been widely expected to endorse Ted Cruz . The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.
Bottom line, while this is not concrete proof that Jerry Falwell Jr endorsed Trump in 2016 because of the racy photos, it certainly adds to the questions many have over the Evangelical support for Trump. It also, as Maddow correctly points out, raises legitimate questions as to whether the Trump campaign violated campaign finance laws in seeking Jerry Falwell Jr’s endorsement in this manner.
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