On Tuesday evening, BuzzFeed released an unverified dossier that claims to outline president-elect Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia. Social media went wild with one particular detail, which describes an (unconfirmed) instance in which Trump booked the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel and hired sex workers to "perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show in front of him." Twitter, especially, had a field day with the news.
This flurry, affectionately named "Piss Twitter" by its participants, continues to have a monopoly on social media feeds. However, the document also outlined several far more troubling alleged details about the president-elect. Here's what you may have missed: Russia may have been planning to help Donald Trump's campaign for the past five years, with total cooperation between Trump's team and the Russian government. The document claims that not only was Trump's team aware of Russia's role in the recent hacking of the Democratic National Convention and its desire to provide intel, but also that they found it "very helpful." In exchange, the Trump team allegedly gave Russia information on U.S.-based Russian oligarchs and their families. The document also alleges that Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin officials in Prague in 2016, that advisor Carter Page had secret meetings in Moscow, and that Russia has "kompromat," or embarrassing information, on Trump, but has promised to withhold as long as he and his team continue to cooperate. Trump, his lawyer, and his former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway have denied these allegations. Both Trump and Cohen took to Twitter to refute the claims, and Trump denied the allegations again during a press conference yesterday, claiming he was a "germaphobe."
Conway appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers to deny the reports.
Of the 36-page report, only two paragraphs are dedicated to Trump's time in Russia and the sexual practices he may or may not have engaged in while there. We're not seeing jokes about Russia's intimidation tactics, or outrage about Trump's alleged willingness to trade information, which make up a majority of the report. Instead, America immediately pounced on the urine fetish as a "weakness" in Trump, as opposed to focusing on the far more serious allegations that were also on display in the document. And frankly, this nonsense is a waste of our time right now. Trump enjoying golden showers was an immediate, irresistible thrill for the public. We were, and continue to be, titillated by it. Our reactions legitimized it as blackmail, proving that we arbitrarily draw the line at what is and isn't okay when it comes to sex. This isn't to say we shouldn't be talking about it. The golden shower detail provokes a shocking image, but it's not shameful or embarrassing for the reasons too many on the internet are implying. Trump's alleged sexual preferences aren't the problem. Trump allegedly booking the room with the bed the Obamas slept in for the express purpose of defiling it, Trump's repeated attempts to delegitimize a Black president, and Trump's disregard for the hotel and its staff is. These blatant acts of disrespect (if they're all true, that is) are simply unfitting of a president-elect. However, as far as Trump is concerned, the best thing the public could do is focus on the golden shower incident in lieu of holding the microscope to the far more shocking, actually harmful details of the report. Now more than ever, in a time where it seems the very fabric of reality is slipping through our fingers, we have to hold onto our values and stick to them, as well as examine and rework any beliefs that may be holding us back. Let's not let a dated view of sexuality shift our focus from the real work that needs to be done: taking these allegations seriously, finding the truth, and figuring out how best the American people can move forward.