Sean Hannity in 2008: “If you cheat on your wife, are you going to be honest with your country?”

Sean Hannity: Americans “have a right to know before we elect somebody” president if he had an affair

Sean Hannity said in 2008 that presidential candidates who have affairs have a “character issue” because they are “living a life that’s a lie.” Hannity, who made the comments during a discussion about the affair of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Hannity & Colmes, also said that Americans “have a right to know before we elect somebody” whether the candidates have had such affairs. He also speculated, “If you cheat on your wife, are you going to be honest with your country?”

In a subsequent episode of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity went further, stating that “If you take a vow, a promise, a pledge, a solemn vow, and you promise to love, honor, cherish, be faithful to, in good times and in bad, richer or poorer, better or worse, and be faithful, you know, till death do you part, if you don't -- if you can't keep that vow, why should people not be suspect that you keep a vow to, you know, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States?”

President Donald Trump is currently under fire for paying hush money during the 2016 campaign to conceal affairs with model Karen McDougal and adult actor Stormy Daniels. Hannity is Trump’s confidant and top propagandist.

SEAN HANNITY: That is a sign of love that I think all human beings can aspire to, so if that -- and her personal life is her choice, I admire her. I think that's great. But she did take a shot at the Enquirer when she said, “Most recently, the pain is caused by the desire for sensationalism and profit without regard for human consequences.” She's got to know he's running for president. She's got to know he is a contender for vice president, or was. So I honestly applaud the Enquirer.

KIRSTEN POWERS: Well, I guess it comes down to whether you think this kind of stuff needs to be in the public domain or not and I think we probably disagree. I tend to think that it is a private matter.

HANNITY: If you're going to be president?

POWERS: And I don't -- I think -- yes, yes, I do. I don't think that.

HANNITY: It doesn't matter if you're president and you're having an affair.

POWERS: Look, as far as I can tell, George Bush has been faithful to his wife. I don't think he's been that great of a president. That's just my personal -- I know you disagree with me. But I don't think that's the mark necessarily -- FDR, JFK, there are plenty of people, and I -- but I do think that they -- it is -- it was brought into the public domain by her husband, though.

HANNITY: But if you're living a life that's a lie.

POWERS: Right.

HANNITY: If you're not honest, it's a character issue.

POWERS: It is a character issue. I agree.

HANNITY: Don't we have a right to know before we elect somebody?

POWERS: Look, Sean, my feeling is that it's a character issue if I was looking at that person do I want to marry this person. That's a decision. But it's -- as far as the president.

HANNITY: If you cheat on your wife, are you going to be honest with your country?

POWERS: Like I said -- but we have plenty of -- I mean do you think that FDR was an honorable president? I mean I think that he was. So I don't think that that's necessarily be the measure. But to Elizabeth's point, her husband put this in the public domain, you know?

HANNITY: We got to take a break. We're going to come back. More details on the Edwards affair and what about the baby?

Later in the show, Hannity emphasized the seriousness of an affair, saying “Where’s any level of love there?”

CHIP SALTSMAN: I mean this is a true tragic dark story, if you - what you and Barry were talking about. It sounds cold and calculating, and here's a guy that was running for president of the United States, running for his nomination on the Democrat party and had just no care in the world and said, “Nah nobody's going to find out about it.” I mean, this runs deeper issues, and we wonder why we have such low approval ratings of our politicians when we now expect them to lie because they do.

SEAN HANNITY: You know something. It's sad. Going back to what Barry just said, Kirsten, about that, I've got to wonder, you know, just putting aside all the politics and interpersonal relationships, if I was married to somebody and that was revealed to be true, where's any level of love there? Where's any level of concern?

KIRSTEN POWERS: I don't know. I don't think we can really look at other people's marriages and know what's going on. You know, they have a long history together. They've been together since they were in law school. They, you know, were obviously very close, and I think that perhaps, you know, she's forgiven him, and you know, he's stumbled, and she's decided that she has -

ALAN COLMES: That's what John says before. Because if this is - it's a wonderful example of forgiveness if she's able to do that. I mean, we could all aspire to be as forgiving as Elizabeth Edwards appears to be.

Days later, Hannity was even more emphatic.

SEAN HANNITY: And there are also reports, the Enquirer, that has had it right up to this point, Chris, is pointing out that there were numerous liaisons at this hotel in Beverly Hills that came -- went on much, much later.

But there are other questions that may become a legal issue for him. Number one, did he really know about the hush money? Did he know about $15,000 being paid monthly? Did he know who paid for the expensive mansion she was living in, in Santa Barbara? And this woman, who's not qualified to do these documentaries, was this a, you know, job of silence?

CHRIS WILSON: Was paid over $100,000 to go shoot documentaries, which she'd never done before. And really, the narcissism and hypocrisy go behind -- that go into this is just remarkable.

You look at one, he's running for president on moral values. His wife has been diagnosed with cancer, and yet, this is a man that we're going to trust of leading the free world?

ALAN COLMES: He's not running for president any more.

HANNITY: Hang on a second.

WILSON: No, he's not now, but he was at the time, and he was considering it. And I think that's really the whole -- that's why this is an issue.

HANNITY: Let me go back to Ronald, because Ronald…

AMANDA CARPENTER: I think that's part of the…

HANNITY: I want to go back to this fundamental issue. I want to know: you've got to explain this to me. I'm just not getting this. Explain to me -- I'm just a regular guy.

And I'm wondering if you can't keep the promise to your family, can't keep your promise to your wife, you're having an affair, you're lying about the affair repeatedly, why should the American people trust you when you say you're not going to lie to them? Why should we trust you?

Later in that show, Hannity made clear he was more upset at Edwards’ affair than that of Sen. John McCain because of Edwards’ wealth and his haircut.

SEAN HANNITY: Can I explain something in the last segment?


HANNITY: Senator McCain spent 5.5 years of his life for his country being tortured, beaten on a daily basis with broken bones and broken body.

COLMES: War hero.

HANNITY: Excuse me. The fact that they didn't break his spirit -- if you can't see the difference between him and Mr. Two Americas in his 28,000-square-foot mansion with his, you know, doing his hair, $1,000 hair cut…

COLMES: Excuse me. Let me ask you a question.

HANNITY: Excuse me. If you don't see the difference than I can't explain it to you.

COLMES: Let me ask you a question. With all due respect, and I've never denounced John McCain for his service to his country. He's a true American hero. However, does that give him -- does that mean it's OK to have an affair when you come back from war?

HANNITY: No, but here’s the difference. There are extenuating circumstances. And he is the first to admit that when he came back after five and a half years of being tortured for his country, that he was not the person that he is now, it was 30 years ago. And for you to make the same thing about Mr. Hair Cut, I'm sorry.

COLMES: No, no. I do not equate his being a war hero with cheating on his wife. I don't conflate the two.

In the years since, Hannity has returned to the topic on Twitter. In June 2012, Hannity tweeted in response to @MariaHasAQuill that “I doubt mrs h. And my 2 kids would like that. I m not john edwards.”