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Even if Pee-gate isn’t true, Donald Trump is stuck with it.


You may have heard that some controversial documents were leaked last night by BuzzFeed, the juiciest of which alleges that Trump likes to get peed on. Or likes to pee on women. Something with piss.

The actual report, which is unconfirmed, states that Trump hired prostitutes in Russia to perform a “golden showers urination show” for him, which Russian authorities planned to use as “compromising material” to blackmail him. The details have been the subject of some amused debate on Twitter—was Trump actually showered upon? or did he just watch? is urine sterile?—but they don’t really matter. What matters is that the connection between Trump and kinky pee is now seared into our collective consciousness.

The scandal tracks closely with this famous “would you rather” conundrum: Would you rather have sex with a goat but have nobody know, or not and have everyone think you did? David Cameron is a real-life exemplar of this query. An unsubstantiated allegation was published last year alleging that he had stuck his nob in a pig’s gob. The chances that Trump or Cameron actually did these salacious acts are small, but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone can’t stop seeing and talking about it.

Trump did his best to discredit the report, signaling in a rare use of all-caps that this was a Drudge siren–level offense: FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” Trump’s Twitter feed is fake news incarnate, but (and it pains me to say it) he was not wrong to label Pee-gate a kind of fake news. The paradox is that in the era of fake news, the term “fake news” has lost any real meaning, in no small part due to Trump. News is as partisan as anything else, a blunt weapon to be used against political opponents. And whether the story is true or not, Trump has to live with it.