Who ever dreamed that the only honest broker in the story of the Trump administration would be the porn star who once considered a run for the Senate? I mean, just add another ring to the political circus and settle in for the performance.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Gregory Clifford, is at the center of an ongoing scandal featuring herself, President Trump, his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and her attorney, Michael Avenatti. In case you haven’t been following the story, Daniels claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006, after meeting him in Lake Tahoe. He was married to Melania Trump at the time.
Daniels further states that she signed an agreement not to disclose the details of the affair in exchange for $130,000 just prior to the 2016 election. Through his spokespeople, the president adamantly denies ever having a sexual affair or any intimate relationship with her.
He says, she says. But the thing is, he’s a proven liar, from lying about the size of his inaugural crowd to several lies a day, sometimes an hour, and most recently admitting to lying to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the U.S.-Canada trade balance.
The president is silent about Daniels because he has others, including Cohen and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, to speak for him. When asked, Sanders has stated that her boss denies having a sexual relationship with Daniels, and that he says the affair never took place.
Since Trump emerged as a national political figure, many women have come forward with accusations of sexual harassment by or affairs with him before he was elected. Daniels, however, seems determined not to be silenced or go away.
At press time she was scheduled to tell her story on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday. Her lawyer has been making the rounds of the talk shows, assuring potential viewers that she has a story to tell, including details of the alleged affair. He claims she has been threatened with physical violence if she doesn’t shut up and go away.
I’m not suggesting she’s the heroine of this story, but it strikes me that she’s a reasonably honest player in a high-stakes game. According to her bio, she started stripping at age 17 in Louisiana, where she grew up in a lower-middle-class family. She moved on to appearing in adult videos and films, many for a company known as Wicked Films. Eventually she became a director for the company and won numerous awards in the industry. She was featured in Penthouse magazine.
She is estranged from her parents. Her mother said in an interview last Friday that she voted for Trump and would vote for him again. Her father said he had some concerns about his daughter’s safety considering the powerful players in the ongoing controversy.
In 2009, Daniels took steps to run for the Senate, but dropped out when she couldn’t raise enough money. She is now crowd-funding a lawsuit against Trump, seeking to nullify the non-disclosure agreement she signed. She raised $150,000 in two days. Daniels, who celebrated her 39th birthday last Saturday, claims that the agreement is void because Trump never signed it.
Fast-forward to the “60 Minutes” gig, in which she promises to tell all. What’s in it for her? A lot of money, apparently. She has said in interviews that since the story broke, she has been in great demand in clubs across the country. People want to hear her story. They want to see her perform. She knows what her skill set is; she’s using her good looks, her voluptuous body and her proximity to the rich and famous to get ahead.
I see her as seizing the day, maximizing publicity and promoting herself for financial gain. You may not like or approve of what she does, but she’s honest about it. Running into Trump in Lake Tahoe, if it happened as she claims, could turn out to be her breakout moment.
On the honesty scale, I would put her up against many members of Congress. We are, indeed, in the midst of a political circus. Send in the clowns? Don’t bother, they’re here.
Copyright 2018 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.