Yesterday, Jerry Falwell Jr., fresh off getting bounced from running his dad’s university, finally came forward to admit — or perhaps better to say “claim” — that his wife Becki Falwell had indeed had an affair with pool boy Giancarlo Granda.
But of course it’s not that simple. Falwell brought the story to one of the most reliably Trumpy and wingnutified journalists in the business, Paul Bedard, who now operates out of The Washington Examiner. In other words, a venue where Falwell was guaranteed a gentle touch — which is good since the lengthy statement Falwell released makes pretty clear this is an attempt to get out in front of what appears to be a much bigger and more damaging story.
To refresh everyone’s memory, back in 2012 the Falwells were at a luxury resort in Miami where they met a pool attendant named Giancarlo Granda. They were so impressed with his ambition and winning ways, so their story went, that they promptly started traveling with him, bringing him to Lynchburg, going to secluded vacation resorts with him and finally setting him up in business running a tumbledown youth hostel in Miami. Around the same time Michael Cohen shows up in the mix. Later, Cohen helps the Falwells make some nude photos of Becki disappear. (Apparently someone was blackmailing them with the threat of releasing them.) Then a few months after that Cohen brokered Falwell’s endorsement of Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Today it now goes without saying that white evangelicals are Donald Trump’s most reliable and intense source of support in American politics. And perhaps this was always inevitable. But it wasn’t clear during the 2016 primary season and Falwell’s endorsement was a critical moment in giving this critical demographic permission, sanction to rally behind Trump.
But I get ahead of myself.