Former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s rise to notoriety had everything to do with Stormy Daniels, the adult film star whose alleged affair with Trump earned her a $130,000 hush-money payment from Cohen that ultimately landed him in prison. Today, serving out the rest of his sentence from home and podcasting while he does it, Cohen is turning over a new leaf with Daniels, to whom the public was expectedly brutal after the news of his payment became public. The Trump team did everything in its power to discredit Daniels, Cohen very much included — which makes it all the more surprising to hear them united against Trump now on his Mea Culpa podcast. Speaking more freely than ever before about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump, Daniels remembers a comment he reportedly made one night while propositioning her that she says she didn’t remember until watching the movie Bombshell about Roger Ailes’ serial sexual harassment at Fox News.
There are certainly parallels between the harassment depicted in Bombshell and Daniels’ alleged affair with Trump, most notably the power imbalance between a figure like Ailes and his staffers, or a figure like Trump and Stormy Daniels. Not sure what power imbalance there is between the latter set? Here’s how Daniels claims Trump phrased it on the night of their first alleged encounter at Lake Tahoe in 2006.
“I went to sidestep and he stood up off the bed and was like ‘This is your chance.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ and he was like, ‘You need to show me how bad you want it or do you just want to go back to the trailer park,’” Daniels recalls to Cohen, as excerpted by The Guardian, clarifying that she never felt “physically threatened.”
To our ears, it’s not a threat so much as coercion, combined with a lot of disrespect for Daniels (possibly women as a whole) and a warped worldview in which sex with Daniels (enthusiastic sex, at that!) was yet another thing his enormous wealth could buy. Daniels claims Trump had promised her a spot on The Apprentice. She remembers she “froze” when she first came out of the bathroom and saw that Trump had stripped down in her absence, seconds before he made the above comment. They had met at a celebrity golf tournament; she remembered suddenly not remembering how she had gotten there.
“Oh f**k, how do I get myself in this situation,’” she says she was thinking at the time. “I didn’t know what to say. He had stripped down to his underwear and was perched on the bed doing his best yet horrifyingly disturbing impression of Burt Reynolds.”
The next few minutes were lost to her until she watched 2019’s Bombshell: “I couldn’t remember how I got from standing in that bathroom doorway to underneath him on the bed, like I couldn’t remember how my dress came off or how my shoes got off, because I know I took my shoes off because I clearly remember putting them back on and they were buckled, like they’re really gold strappy heels,” she recounts. “I went to see that movie Bombshell, and suddenly it just came back.”
Trump and his legal team have denied that the affair between him and Daniels ever existed, even as Cohen was arrested and came clean about his scope of his involvement. And while there is some public animosity between Melania Trump and Daniels, it seems to have just as much to do with the publicity that Daniels’ accounts have garnered as the details of her allegations. As Daniels points out, Trump did think she would eventually “go back to the trailer park,” never imagining people would listen to her voice over his. As she pursues further legal action against Trump now for defamation, Daniels’ voice is only getting louder.