Allow me to be the millionth person to ask this: Why didn’t they release this a week before the 2016 election to maximize sales instead of digging it out of the vault now? Makes no sense. Were they afraid that their scoop might tilt the election to Hillary? Celebrity magazines aren’t known for being timid or fearful of the spotlight.
If you don’t want to wade through all 5,500 words, Politico has the eight juiciest details summarized. But to read a summary is to miss the true value of the interview. We already know the basics of her story — they met at an event, they had sex, he kept in touch for awhile and dangled the possibility of an “Apprentice” role to keep her on the hook — but what’s interesting are all the trivial details she adds that enhance her credibility. For instance:
Then sure enough, he called me. He always called me from a blocked number. He gave me — of course I had Keith, his bodyguard’s number — he gave me his secretary’s number, Rhona, which is his direct office line.
Everyone knows who “Keith” is by now. That’s Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime bodyguard, who followed him to the White House last year and then left under pressure from John Kelly. Not everyone knows who “Rhona” is, though. That’s Rhona Graff, another Trump confidant who’s since gone on to become VP of the Trump Organization. Daniels knew both of their names in 2011, long before most of the country had heard of them.
But so what, right? If you were going to fabricate an affair with Donald Trump, googling beforehand to see who his top staffers are and then dropping their names in an interview about the tryst would be a crafty way to lend credibility to your story. Mentioning “Keith” and “Rhona” doesn’t really tell us anything. But here’s another casual detail from the story that caught my attention. This is Daniels talking about visiting Trump in 2007, months after the affair began, to see if he was going to come through with an “Apprentice” gig for her or not:
IT: At these events, was his wife there?
Stormy: I’ve never seen her. I’ve never seen her in person, ever. Then the next time I saw him was the end of July and he called me and asked if I could come meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel. And I went. My boyfriend drove me. Keith came out and met me at my truck and walked me in. He had a private bungalow out back, which is cool because I’d never been there and I haven’t been there since. They have these, like, individual cottages there. Cool. They’re pretty nice. I went there. We had dinner once again in his room. I had swordfish that time. Once again, no alcohol. The strangest thing about that night — this was the best thing ever. You could see the television from the little dining room table and he was watching Shark Week and he was watching a special about the U.S.S. something and it sank and it was like the worst shark attack in history. He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks. He was like, “I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.” He was like riveted. He was like obsessed. It’s so strange, I know.
Hilarious. But it made me wonder: Did Shark Week programming in 2007 include an episode of the sort she describes? If you know your World War II history (or, uh, if you’ve seen “Jaws”) you know she’s describing the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Two weeks before the end of the war, the Indianapolis was hit by a Japanese torpedo; a quarter of the men aboard went down with the ship and the remaining three-quarters were left to float around the sea for days, subject to continuous shark attacks. In the end nearly 900 men died before the survivors were rescued, the worst single-ship naval disaster in U.S. history. Did Shark Week 2007 cover the Indianapolis? As it turns out, yes. Here’s a message board thread about it in which the first post talks about the episode airing the night before. The date: July 30, 2007. The end of July, just like Daniels said. (The episode’s now on YouTube if you want to pay two bucks to watch.) Could she have researched that four years later in 2011 to flesh out a grand lie with scraps of truth? Anything’s possible. But what would Occam’s Razor say?
One other point. We already know all about Trump’s alleged interest in Shark Week from the story in Mother Jones that appeared last night. But the Mother Jones story had nothing to do with the In Touch interview. That was based on something Daniels had allegedly told a political consultant in 2009, when she was thinking of running for office. The silly Shark Week detail about Trump is actually significant in that she mentioned it years apart to two completely independent sources. Again, what would Occam’s Razor say about whether she’s telling the truth or not?
Oh, and there’s this. Note the dates on the tweets — two years *after* Daniels gave her interview to In Touch.
Sorry folks, I'm just not a fan of sharks – and don't worry, they will be around long after we are gone.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2013
Sharks are last on my list – other than perhaps the losers and haters of the World!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2013
The president really does have a thing about sharks. How did she know? More very detailed research of something he may have said in an obscure interview years before, or did things happen between them pretty much just as she described them?
There are lots of other small details she mentions as asides that can be quickly verified via Google. At one point she claims that Trump offered to get her a condo at the new Trump Tower in Tampa, which, Daniels claimed, was under construction while they were having their affair. That’s correct. She says Trump invited her to the launch party for his vodka brand at an L.A. club called Les Deux in January 2007 and she showed up briefly and was photographed on the red carpet. That’s correct. She remembers noticing when they were hanging out that Trump never drank, which she teased him about on account of the fact that he had his own vodka label. The fact that the president is a teetotaler is also correct, and may be widely known now but it was news to me until he became a candidate three years ago. Daniels knew about it in 2011. According to In Touch, “Subsequent to the interview, Ms. Daniels took and passed a polygraph test. The account of her affair was corroborated by one of her good friends and supported by her ex-husband, both of whom also passed polygraph tests.”
The one detail in the piece that doesn’t ring true is her claim that they had unprotected sex. Trump is famously a germophobe and probably wouldn’t be eager to gamble on STDs with someone who worked in adult film, but Daniels claims that she’s allergic to latex and didn’t happen to have a non-latex condom on her that evening. Evidently his choice was no sex or unprotected sex. He gambled, or so she claimed.
Exit question one: Assuming she really is under an NDA, which is the only reason I can think of for why she hasn’t spoken up this week to address the In Touch story, why doesn’t she break it? Trump could sue, of course, but suing under the circumstances would mean acknowledging the NDA’s existence, which would lend further credibility to the idea that something happened between them. There must be big money waiting for her — and other former mistresses — to “describe his junk” to some tabloid. She must be tempted. Exit question two: Trump’s approach, as she describes it, reeks of an M.O. He chattered to her about getting her a role on “The Apprentice” and, whaddaya know, it fell through in the end but not until after they’d begun an affair. That’s a line that would conceivably work on a lot of attractive young Playboy models and adult stars. How many other women did he use it on?