When Donald Trump takes office today, the nation’s 45th president will usher in the era of the trophy wife, something Washington hasn’t seen since President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He was married twice, although Nancy Reagan had been his wife for 38 years when he took office.
Every other president in the nation’s history, including all other 20th century presidents up to President Obama, was faithful to their marital oath. A number presidents, however, have been tainted by marital scandals, most notably President Bill Clinton.
What’s odd about Trump’s background is that it’s counter to the beliefs of a core Republican constituency–evangelicals.
White born-again or evangelical Christians and white Catholics, strongly supported Trump in the 2016 election, according to an election analysis by the Pew Research Center.
“Like Southernness and Catholicism, divorce was long considered a barrier to the presidency,” write Alexander Heard and Michael Nelson in their book “Presidential Selection.”
“Yet, Reagan campaigned in 1976 and was elected in 1980 with scarcely a hint that his divorce should be held against him. Society’s tolerance for divorce had grown so great during the 1960s that it no longer was a barrier when candidate Reagan encountered it,” according to the book.
In the 21st century, infidelity apparently is now also the new normal. Trump’s background and reputation with women is nothing short of scandalous.
It became an issue in the campaign when a 2005 conversation with television presenter Billy Bush surfaced. Recorded on an open mic, Trump bragged about how celebrity entitlement allowed him to hit on women without repercussions.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” he boasted.
“Grab them by the pus*y. You can do anything,” he crowed.
He apparently meant that literally.
Four Miss USA or Miss Teen USA contestants also came forward. They said Trump walked in on them when they were naked in a dressing room during the pageant, which Trump owned at the time.
In fact, Trump bragged during an interview on Howard Stern’s radio show that walking in on the contestants was one of the privileges of being the owner.
Two other women say Trump groped or kissed them without consent.
In one of the instances, Jessica Leeds, now 74, told The New York Times Trump grabbed her breast while seated next to her on an aircraft flight.
In the other, Rachel Crooks, then a 22-year-old receptionist for company located in Trump Tower in New York City, said Trump cornered her in an elevator and began trying to kiss her.
“I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that,” she said.
Mindy McGillivray said Trump groped her 13 years ago at his Mar-a-Lago estate, in Palm Beach, Fla, according to The Palm Beach Post.
People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff claimed Trump cornered her alone at his Mar-A-Largo estate in 2005 after she arrived to interview his new, and then pregnant wife, Melania.
“He was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat,” she wrote in a just published account of the incident.
Trump was also caught on an audio tape ogling a 10-year-old girl and suggesting he might date her in 10 years. He was 46 at the time.
Trump’s marital history is also been scandal tainted, although he insisted in an interview that he had a “very good history.”
The newly elected president met his first wife Ivana Zelnickova in a bar in 1976. They were married a year later, but not before Trump forced her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement.
She would later say during their divorce she didn’t understand the agreement, which limited her spousal support to $20,000 a year, even though by then Trump was a multi-millionaire.
Ivana later revealed that Trump sexually assaulted her in 1989 during a violent argument. Trump also allegedly humiliated Ivana privately and, at times, even publicly,” according to a Vanity Fair magazine profile.
In 1987, ten years into his marriage, Trump began an affair with actress Marla Maples. She was 26 at the time; Donald was 41.
They finally married in 1993, a year after Trump divorce from Ivana was finalized. Maples gave birth to Tiffany Trump, two months before the wedding.
They were married for six years before Trump started to wander, again. In 1998, he met current wife Melania, a Slovenian model 24 years his junior, at the Kit Kat Club during New York Fashion Week, He was still married, but separated from Maples.
Trump and Melania were engaged in 2004 and married on 2005. She gave birth a year later to son Barron. Trump, by his own admission, has not be faithful to his third wife.
During his 2005 conversation with Bush, he bragged about trying to seduce a married woman… without luck. “I did try and f-ck her. She was married,” Trump said. “I moved on her very heavily.”
At the time, Melania was pregnant.
In his latest scandal, a former British intelligence agent prepared a dossier on Trump for both Republican and Democratic opponents. It detailed alleged perverted sex romps with prostitutes in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Other Eastern European intelligence agencies also were aware of the romps, according to the BBC.
Trump has denied the allegations, although U.S. intelligence agencies said the ex-MI6 agent was credible and have taken his report seriously.
Trump and his campaign aides are reportedly under investigation for their ties to Russia.
Melania will not be joining Trump in the White House. She plans to stay in New York City so son Barron can continue in school, according to the official version of their separation.
Other members of Trumps’ high-rolling cabinet appointees and advisers also are part of the trophy wife club, although the majority are still with their first wives.
Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, 54, is engaged to 35-year-old Hollywood starlet Louise Linton. She was a steady presence sitting behind him during his confirmation hearing, always in camera range.
Mnuchin married his first wife Heather de Forest Crosby, a fetching blonde public relations executive in 1999 in a high-society marriage covered by The New York Times. At the time, he was a managing director at Goldman Sachs.
They divorced in 2014 after having three children together.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump’s new adviser on cyber security, married his second cousin, Regina Peruggi, in 1968. By the 1970s, his marriage was on the rocks and they went through a trial separation.
He started dating local television personality Donna Hanover sometime in 1982, and filed for a legal separation from Peruggi the same year. Giuliani married Hanover in a Catholic ceremony in 1984 and they had two children.
In the mid-90s, Giuliani was caught in a scandalous affair with his press secretary, and his marriage to Hanover began to deteriorate.
Giuliani met Judith Nathan, a twice-divorced sales manager 10 years his junior, in May 1999 at Club Macanudo, an Upper East Side cigar bar, according to press reports.
While he was mayor, Giuliani charged tens of thousands of dollars to various city agencies for trips to such places as the Hamptons, where he was allegedly meeting Nathan, according to press reports.
In early May 2000, The New York Daily News and then The New York Post broke the news of Giuliani’s affair. He hastily called a news conference to announce his separation from his wife–without informing her first.
Ironically, the scandal ended Giuliani’s hopes of running for president.
Stephen Bannon, the former head of right-wing propaganda site Breitbart News and Trump’s Senior White House Counselor, has been married three times.
He married his first wife, Cathleen Suzanne Houff, in 1988 and they had a daughter, Maureen.
He wed his second wife, investment banker Mary Louise Piccard, in 1995 and they had twins; they split in 1997 in a bitter divorce.
According to a police report and divorce papers, Piccard accused him of physically abusing her and making anti-Semitic remarks about their children attending school with Jews. He allegedly assaulted her on four other occasions.
Bannon pleaded not guilty to the charges and said his relationship with his wife was “wonderful.” The charges were dropped after Piccard failed to appear in court. She later told The New York Times that Bannon and his lawyer had threatened her.
Bannon rebounded with Diane Clohesy, who worked for him as a director, producer and social media manager for Breitbart News. They divorced in 2009.
Wilber Ross, the billionaire investor who has been tapped as Commerce Secretary is also a member of the three wives club.
He married his first wife Judith Nodine in 1961 and divorced her in 1995 after 34 years of marriage and two children.
He married Betsy McCaughey, the former Lt. Gov. of New York under Republican Gov. George Pataki the same year as his divorce. She was 11 years his junior.
They divorced five years later and he married his third wife Hilary Geary, a society reporter for Quest magazine, in 2004. She’s 13 years his junior. Oddly they met while Ross was dating McCaughey. She went on to get married and divorced before hooking up with him.
Members of the first marriage club include, not surprisingly mostly career government people: Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and cabinet picks Sonny Perdue, James Mattis, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, David Shulkin, John Kelly, Ben Carson, Tom Price, Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn and Jeff Sessions