GOP Adulterers Trump and Fiorina Have No Business Attacking Other People’s Marriages

Left:  Donald Trump with third wife, Melania, and their son, Barron; right: Carly Fiorina with second husband, Frank, on the campaign trail
Left: Donald Trump with third wife, Melania, and their son, Barron; right: Carly Fiorina with second husband, Frank, on the campaign trail

Given the Republican Party’s irresistible urge to poke their noses in the Clintons’ private lives — they spent millions of taxpayer dollars investigating the then-First Couple in the In the 1990s and then spent million more on a failed impeachment over a sex lie Bill told under oath — it is not surprising that the 2016 GOP candidates are raising Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a way to attack his wife.

Republicans also have a tendency to crow about the value of “traditional marriage” while simultaneously cheating on their spouses — we have been cataloging the hypocrisy of these GOP adulterers for the past decade.

Now we’re adding two more to the list.

As examples of this hypocrisy, consider the fact that two of the Republicans who have chosen to use Bill Clinton’s infidelity to attack his wife — Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina — both broke up their first marriages by being unfaithful to their spouses.

Trump’s first marriage ended after his wife, Ivana, found out about his affair with Marla Maples, who became the second Mrs. Trump. The record is a bit fuzzy about the status of Donald’s marriage to Marla at the time he started dating his current wife, Melania Knauss.

But neither Trump’s serial adulteries nor his history of philandering have stopped him from castigating Bill Clinton as a sex fiend and accusing Hillary Clinton of enabling her husband’s affairs.

With her poll numbers cratering, Carly Fiorina opted to use her opening statement in the GOP debate last week to sling mud at the Clinton marriage. “Unlike another woman in this race,” Fiorina said, “I actually love spending time with my husband.” We have to take Carly’s word for it that she loves spending time with her husband, Frank, however it would be surprising to learn that she has inside dope on whether Bill and Hillary love to spend time together.

But Carly has not always been a loving spouse. Her first husband, Todd Bartlem, has said that it was Carly’s affair with Frank Fiorina, then a divorced business executive, that broke up their marriage.

This sort of blatant hypocrisy on the part of Trump and Fiorina is what former Rep. Michele Bachmann, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate, might call, “choots-pah.”

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Trump

We delved into Trump’s wild and crazy love life back in August, in an article titled, “The GOP Frontrunner Is a Notorious Adulterer Whose Current Wife Posed Nude – Is This the End of GOP ‘Family Values?’

We couldn’t have predicted then that Trump would be leading in the polls now among Republican evangelical voters — he had 33 percent of evangelical support, versus Ted Cruz’ 21 percent and Marco Rubio’s 10 percent in an NBC News weekly tracking poll earlier this month. This is passing strange among voters whose values normally wouldn’t countenance Trump’s messy marital history or his penchant for dating models who have been photographed in the nude, including Playboy’s Anna Nicole Smith, a Penthouse Pet or two and, of course, his current wife, Melania — the GOP frontrunner for First Lady of the United States — who posed nude on a fur rug in Trump’s airplane back in 2000.

If conservative evangelicals are willing to compromise their values by supporting a candidate like Trump — a moral degenerate, by their standards — what do they really stand for? Similarly, how can tea partyists, whose political activism centers on patriotism and the rule of law, support a candidate like Trump, who has a history of doing business with notorious mob kingpins like “Big Paul” Castellano and “Fat Tony” Salerno?

Maybe these voters are unaware of Trump’s sleazy background. There’s been precious little reporting about it in cable news outlets like CNN and MSNBC, and none among right-wing propaganda organs like Fox and talk radio.

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Fiorna

Even less is known about Carly Fiorina, whose quest for the presidency seems to reflect a highly inflated sense of self-worth. She has never held office and was fired as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, her highest profile job in the private sector. Her bid to unseat Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010 was also a spectacular failure. Fiorina launched her campaign by unwitting unleashing a catty “mean girl” screed against Boxer’s hair on an open mike, and ended it by losing to Boxer by 10 percentage points in what was otherwise a nationwide tea party wave election year.

Fiorina had no cause to attack Boxer’s marriage, so her own rocky marital history did not come up during the California campaign. The information was out there then, however, having been first revealed in a 2002 Vanity Fair article about her troubled tenure at Hewlett-Packard. The article included this brief recounting of the end of her first marriage, to Todd Bartlem:

Bartlem and Fiorina were married for almost seven years. After [living in Italy for a while] they returned to Washington, D.C. She went to business school in Maryland and then to work at AT&T. He says that as she flung herself into the job, working around the clock, he noticed that on weekends she was tired, depressed, rather like a “wounded animal.” He knew that he was losing her, that she’d decided upon a fast-track career—not for the money, but for “the power,” he says. Not the corporate type himself, he took a job at the World Bank and started to travel.

A few times when he called home at night, there was no answer. The reason, according to Bartlem, was that Carly had begun an affair with Frank Fiorina, a divorced man with two children. She moved out and filed for a divorce.

Bartlem says he asked her to go for counseling; she refused. She ceased all contact. About a year later, just after the divorce went through, he says, she pulled up in the driveway of their home and calmly said, “‘I will never see you again.’ I said, ‘Isn’t that a little’ . . . how would I say? . . . ‘extreme?’ Given, you know, we’d had no battles. There was no animosity.

“She had found out from business school that you . . . weigh your decisions, and then you make the hard choice. And she has extended that to her entire being, and that includes work, that includes play, that includes marriage. If you don’t fit in the plan, you don’t fit,” says Bartlem.

So much for “family values.”

In February 2008, an op-ed writer for the New York Times contacted Todd Bartlem, whose feelings toward Carly were still quite bitter. “She became a unidimensional person,” Bartlem said. “Anything that didn’t enhance her business life she didn’t want to know about. . . . I wish I could wish her the best, but I don’t. I want to see her fail.”

Last April, when Bloomberg News contacted Bartlem to get his take on his former wife’s bid for the presidency, Bartlem was blunt.“You’re wasting your time,” Bartlem told the reporter, “and I don’t want you to waste mine. In the clown car that is the Republican Party, she’s the ultimate clown.” (Click.)

And while the top U.S. political media outlets haven’t bothered to look into Carly’s past, London’s Daily Mail did quite an intensive scour in July. The paper uncovered several items in Fiorina’s campaign biography that don’t line up with the facts.

Her “rags to riches” story doesn’t in fact start with “rags.” Her father was a federal judge, whose salary enabled the family to live quite well in San Francisco. Nor does her “secretary to CEO” narrative hold up to scrutiny, according to her ex, Todd Bartlem:

“It’s not like she was a secretary for 15 years and rose up. She dropped out of law school, she settled on business school. It was all very planned.

“She’s a very calculating person and her risks paid off but whenever I read descriptions about her life there’d always be this bit that she rose from a secretary at a real estate company to the head of AT&T…

“I mean she had a part-time position when she quit law school and she had to have money to pay the rent, so she worked as a secretary to a real estate firm in Palo Alto, but it was incidental.

Later Bartlem said, “I was useful to her then. I got her through graduate school and broke her out of going to law school. She tried to go to law school but she hated it and it was a big problem because her father wanted her to be a lawyer but I was her rebellion — her alternate lifestyle…

“[Carly’s career] became her whole life because of the power thing that went with it, and, at the end of the day, everything got judged according to how useful it was towards allowing her to get ahead.

“I assume Frank was useful.”

The Daily Mail also spoke with Frank Fiorina’s first wife, Patricia Easler, who objected to Carly’s implication during the Republican debate in September that she, Carly, raised Frank and Patricia’s daughter, Lori, who died in 2009 after struggling with addiction.

At the Simi Valley debate, Carly said, “I very much hope I am the only person on this stage who can say this, but I know there are millions of Americans out there who will say the same thing. My husband, Frank, and I buried a child to drug addiction, so we must invest more in the treatment of drugs.”

But it was Patricia — not Frank and Carly — who was granted custody of Lori and her sister in the divorce. “There are two sides to every story,” Patricia told the Daily Mail. “That’s not how I remember it. Lori was my daughter and I grieve her every day.”

Todd Bartlem also confirmed to the newspaper that he believes Carly cheated on him with Frank Fiorina, disparaging Carly’s claim that she was divorced when she began seeing Frank. The Daily Mail investigated Carly’s marital merry-go-round. Here’s the timeline:

Carly joined AT&T in 1980. According to her later account of the ages of Frank’s daughters when she met them, she was introduced to Frank the following year – 1981.

That was the same same year Frank’s wife Patricia filed for divorce, in a case that dragged on for two years.

Carly filed for divorce from Bartlem in April 1983, eight months before Frank’s divorce was finalized.

Carly’s divorce was finalized in November 1984 but documents filed in May that year show she and Frank were already living together. She gives her address as Frank’s – the home he once shared with Patricia and their daughters.

Frank and Carly married in 1985 when his youngest daughter Lori was ten and Tracy was 14.

Finally, in his interview with the Daily Mail, Todd Bartlem offered this insight into what motivates his ex-wife.

“She’s never held a political office,” Bartlem said. “She has no experience whatsoever and it boggles the imagination, but that is pretty indicative of the Republican Party. It’s like watching the Hindenburg go down – basically a flaming mess.”

He added, “She’s a plutocrat. Her net worth is high and she sees herself as a member of that class. She’s got spare money in her piggy bank and she’s trying to buy an office. Most normal people would take a county thing, a state office or something, but no. She doesn’t have the ability to see that she’s so got into this thing of mind-over-matter that she can will it.”

Batlem concludes, “But there are some things in life that you can’t will, and becoming president has got to be one of them. Carly can’t see that because she’s a corporate person. She views herself as a corporation. There’s no humility or humanity left.”

One comment

  • Joan Scharlau
    February 29, 2016 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    The fact that Trump did not marry Marla until after their daughter was born us cruel. The will always be know as illegitimate. Is he so self indulgent that he didn’t think of that?

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