My Two Cents on Donald Trump’s Affair with Stormy Daniels

OK, let’s talk about some really serious stuff.

Did Donald Trump have an affair with Stormy Daniels, as so many in the media have reported?

There are two questions here. Did Trump have an affair and was it with Stormy Daniels? As a former newspaper reporter, I’ve been intrigued as the media have been all over the map on these questions.

I’m reminded of when The Oregonian newspaper, in its initial reporting on the Neil Goldschmidt scandal, ran a story with the headline “Goldschmidt confesses ’70s affair with girl, 14”  in 2004? 

An affair? To say the least, a lot of people took heated exception to that portrayal of what happened. 

“Despite what you’ve read in the papers or seen on TV, former Portland mayor and eventual Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt did not have an affair with a 14-year-old girl,” wrote the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.   “Yes, he took the girl into the basement rec room of her parents’ home repeatedly for sex. Yes, he came over to her house — conveniently situated in his own neighborhood — when he knew her parents would be away. And it was pretty easy for him to know that since her mother worked at city hall. 

And, yes, over a period of three years, this powerful man and family friend who would become Oregon’s premier politician also sexually abused his children’s baby sitter at a downtown hotel and even in the office of the mayor. But, no, this was definitely not an “affair. As Portland Tribune columnist Phil Stanford rightly wrote this week, “Slice it any way you want … it still comes out…statutory rape.”

Trump didn’t have an affair with pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels either. An affair is a romantic and emotionally intense relationship with someone other than your spouse or partner.

Trump had sex with Daniels. Once. Saying they had an affair is journalistic malpractice.

As the Washington Post reported in a widely watched 2018  interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” , Daniels described how she first met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006 when she was 27 and he was 60. Trump invited her to have dinner at his hotel suite.  Believing that Trump could snag her a role on his television show, Daniels said she had sex with Trump that night. They met again the following year at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Trump, she recalled, spent the meeting watching “Shark Week” on television. They did not have sex, and Daniels said they never met again.

In other words, Trump did not have an affair with Stormy Daniels. They had intercourse, coitus, fornication, copulation, carnal knowledge……sex.

For that matter, Trump didn’t have sex with Stormy Daniels either.

Stormy Daniels doesn’t exist. That’s just the stage name of Stephanie Gregory Clifford, born on March 17, 1979 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The porn star told In Touch magazine she had “textbook generic” sex with Trump, after which Trump said, ‘I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna call you. I have to see you again. You’re amazing. We have to get you on The Apprentice.’”

It’s not clear to me why most of the media have persisted in referring to the woman involved in this contretemps as Stormy Daniels. I know that many porn stars use a stage name in order to retain anonymity, but there is no good reason why the media should promote awareness of her porn star stage name and there’s certainly no reason for the media to allow the woman in this case to hide behind a stage name to protect her privacy

Privacy, after all, is clearly the last thing she wants.

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