Bishop T.D. Jakes: Spitzer

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Spitzer

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was recently caught in a prostitution scandal and forced to resign. Investigators say the disgraced politician, infamously known as "Client #9," spent close to $80,000 on call girls.


"I'm deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me," Spitzer said in his resignation remarks. "I sincerely apologize."


The irony of Spitzer's downfall is that the politician was known for busting prostitution rings. He joins a list of powerful men like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, and fallen minister Jimmy Swaggart, who were forced to go public with their extramarital relationships.

Silda, Spitzer's wife and mother of their three daughters, stood at her husband's side during his announcement, and many people strongly disagreed with her stance.

"What do you think is going on here?" Dr. Phil asks Bishop Jakes.

"One of the things that our culture has become enamored with is success. We don't realize that there are people who can broker public success but still have private struggles," he replies. "The fact that you are very adept at managing a career does not mean you are adept at managing a relationship. Sometimes whatever you invest the biggest part of your time in is what you're going to do well in " i.e. your career. If you don't invest a significant amount of time into your private life, you can become a public success and a private failure."

"People are saying, ‘Why do you think he would risk so much and believe that he could get away with this?'" Dr. Phil inquires.

"When you're in a position of power, sometimes there are certain personality types who think they have a sense of entitlement. I don't know the [former] governor, so I'm not going to presume what was really going on in his head," Bishop Jakes says. "Sometimes many people who are very adept at cleaning up other people's messes have trouble cleaning up their own … I think, subconsciously, sometimes they're fighting their own demons in the things they go after publicly, and then go home and can't fight and win privately what they won publicly."

Noting that there is a sharp distinction between public and private persona, particularly in Hollywood, Dr. Phil says, "People don't really know whom they're dealing with."

"I think television coming into your home makes you feel like you know this person, but we're really much more complex than our persona. Many, many times people think that because they saw you in a movie or they saw you throw a football, that they really know you," Bishop Jakes says. "I'm amazed at how press has become incensed with his wife standing beside him, and shocked that she would stand beside him. But many, many times we have a tendency to define somebody by one moment in their lives when, in fact, she's been living with him for years, and her decision to stay or to go is not based on one single incident, but the totality of her experience with him."

"Well, there wasn't one incident. It was $80 grand worth of hookers," Dr. Phil quips.

"Well, they were pretty expensive too, by the way," Bishop Jakes says with a laugh.

Dana McGreevey is the former wife of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, who resigned after revealing he was gay. She told The Insider her thoughts were with Silda Spitzer.

"I just wanted to embrace her and assure her that she will survive this," Dana said.

"The question that I think a lot of people are interested in is that when he has made the two appearances, he had his wife standing at his side," Dr. Phil says. "Were you surprised at that?"

"Not at all. That's public relations," Bishop Jakes says. "He has people handling him who are saying, ‘We don't want you to be seen out there without your wife.'"

"Yeah, but I don't think you could get a big enough PR firm to get my wife to stand next to me if I just spent $5,500 on a hooker," Dr. Phil teases.

"My wife might be standing there, but she'd have a rolling pin behind her back," Bishop Jakes says.

Robin has strong opinions regarding Silda's support of her husband. "I was very surprised for a lot of reasons. First of all, because she was out there. I would not have gone out there to stand beside you, behind you, support you in any way. No!" she tells Dr. Phil. "And the fact that she went out there with him, and he showed her no respect. He walked out in front of her. He never looked behind to see if she was following him, if she was OK. He never touched her. When he apologized, he said he was going to work on, ‘myself and my family.' He talked about himself. It was very insincere. He never looked at her, supported her, nothing. And she was in that role as the first lady of New York because of his role. He put her in that role. He didn't live up to his responsibilities of the role. Why should she?"

"You were saying he wasn't touching her or being attentive to her in any way, but she may well have said, ‘Alright, I'm going out there with you because I'm the first lady of this state, and it is my duty and responsibility to do it, but don't you touch me, you son of a runt!'" Dr. Phil says. 

"She should have said, ‘I'm going out there, but you treat me with dignity and respect while I'm out there with you. If I'm going to do this with you, then you show me some respect,' and he did not," Robin says.

"I think after you've have that kind of gross infidelity, not touching your arm when you walk up the steps is a small thing compared to the disrespect he's already shown her," Bishop Jakes says. "The reality is, we really cannot evaluate people's personal lives by sound bytes in front of cameras. Marriage is much more complicated than that. Each one is an individual. There are some women who would put up with things that others would not because they understand things that others don't understand. I don't think we should criticize her for standing by him. They may have the kind of love that endures this and ultimately can grow from it."

"People have asked me if I think she should leave him or not. The answer is I don't know, because I don't know what their relationship is," Dr. Phil says. "I don't know how deep those roots go. I don't know what their religious beliefs are. I don't know what other issues there are ... I know that marriages can survive infidelity, so to cave to a public pressure about it would be to perform. She may well have this and many other reasons to end this marriage, but we don't know those things are."

"Because women are made to be nurturers, they have a tendency not to give up on people we would have cut off a long time ago," Bishop Jakes observes. He brings up Hillary Clinton's reaction when Bill Clinton's philandering was made public. "She said that she never lost sight of the fact that she believed that her husband loved her. That's the decision every woman has to make, and they make it on the basis of reasons that we don't have access to."

Several women in the audience sound off on loyalty and infidelity.

One woman says, "I totally agree with Robin that there's no way she should have gone out there and supported him. She is the one who had to take on the role of the first lady with the governor. That was not her choice, and so to walk out there with him, I know that there are some people with whom infidelity does happen once or something like that. Eighty thousand dollars worth of infidelity, I think, is a little excessive."

"If she came out, I think she should have spoken," another woman says. "Why not say, ‘I'm not here because I condone this, but this is a family issue. I have children'? I would have rather heard her have a voice than to just [see her] stand there, looking like a deer in the headlights."

A bespectacled lady shares her thoughts. "We live in a society where we discard things when they don't work. Everything is disposable. I don't think people are disposable," she says. "I think that if you stick by the person, whatever mistake they would have made, they can be rehabilitated. They can be helped."


A woman in a gold blouse stands. "I agree with Bishop Jakes, what he said about people going through things in life. But for me, she made her choice. That's what she wanted to do. But if it had been me, I couldn't let that go," she says. "I couldn't accept infidelity."