In Touch Weekly released the full transcript of its lost-and-found 2011 interview with porn star Stormy Daniels (née Stephanie Clifford), wherein she details the months-long 2006 affair she claims she had with then-reality-TV host Donald Trump. The interview details, among other things, how Trump used his longtime bodyguard and his assistant to facilitate their meetings, and how, during their entire relationship, the only family member Trump willingly talked about was his daughter.
But most notable about Clifford’s account of the consensual affair was how it mirrors accusations of non-consensual advances by Trump. For him, this is a pattern. Like many others, Clifford thought Trump wanted to give her a professional opportunity. Like many others, Trump dangled the promise of a professional opportunity—a promise he never intended to keep—in exchange for sex. Unlike the others we know about, Clifford gave in to Trump’s advances.
Clifford told InTouch that their first one-on-one meeting occurred in Trump’s hotel suite in Lake Tahoe, a meeting facilitated by his bodyguard Keith Schiller. “Keith was always with him,” she told the magazine. “That’s how I got in touch with him. I never had Donald’s cellphone number. I always used Keith’s.”
Clifford arrived dressed for a date; Donald wore sweatpants. (Tale as old as time.) When the two got to talking, Trump wanted to talk business. He wanted to know about the adult-film business. He wanted to know about Clifford’s skill as a businesswoman. He showed her a magazine on which he was the cover, demonstrating to Clifford what a famous business success he was. Then, the conversation turned to how Trump could possibly do business with Stephanie Clifford. Clifford would be a contestant on The Apprentice.
Daniels tells InTouch that Trump said that being on The Apprentice would be great for her, because people think she’s stupid, but she’s actually not. “And I was like, ‘Well, it’s never going to happen. NBC is never going to let a porn star on.’ And he was like, ‘I can make it happen.’ And I was like, ‘You can’t. I dare you.’ I was totally egging him on. And that was kind of like the thing, he was like, ‘No, we have to work on this for you.’ And that was sort of what he tried to bait me with for an entire year.”
The interview flirts with tabloid sensationalism, as one could expect, about his sexual style, his “junk,” his fears and strange habits. That he only mentioned his wife once, at the very beginning of their affair, and when Clifford asked about her, Trump said “Oh, don’t worry about her,” and changed the subject. The only other family member Trump mentioned during their months-long involvement was his daughter Ivanka, who Trump said shared many similarities with Clifford.
The quirky details drive home the fact that these are strange times indeed; it’s hard to imagine the nationwide apoplexy that would have followed a similar on-the-record account of an affair with, say, President Obama. But the more mundane details of Clifford and Trump’s affair reinforce much of what the women who have accused Trump of predatory behavior have long said: Donald Trump has displayed a decades-long pattern of promising women professional advancement in exchange for sex, or expecting sex in exchange for giving women professional opportunities.
Clifford and Trump met at the same Lake Tahoe event where Trump met adult-film actress Jessica Drake. In 2016, Drake claimed that at the event, Trump invited her to his hotel room. She brought two female friends with her, because she was uncomfortable attending alone. When she arrived, Trump forcibly hugged and kissed them. Drake refused his advances, according to CNN, and after the encounter, Trump offered her $10,000 and use of his private plane in exchange for sleeping with him. Drake declined. Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Drake, like Clifford, had been paid hush money, which Drake’s representatives now deny.
Clifford says that Trump would call her about once every 10 days, always from a blocked number, and always under the guise of getting her on The Apprentice. That never happened.
Former business associate Jill Harth claims that in 1993 during a tour of Mar-a-Lago, Trump forced her into his daughter Ivanka’s room and groped her in an attempt to initiate sex. Harth’s boyfriend was in the next room. Eventually Harth and her partner sued Trump for breach of contract.
Former Apprentice contestant Jennifer Murphy says that in 2005, Trump forcibly kissed her on the lips after a job interview. Murphy had auditioned for The Apprentice after Trump noticed her in one of his pageants.
Summer Zervos, another Apprentice contestant, claims that Trump kissed her twice when she first approached him for a job in Trump Tower in 2007. Not long after that, Trump invited her, as he invited Clifford, to his hotel room in Los Angeles. Zervos says that when she arrived, he asked her to sit next to him, and then he grabbed her and started kissing her, a move Clifford says Trump also pulled on her, but clearly with different results. Zervos believes she was denied a job at the Trump Organization because she refused Trump’s advances. Clifford’s story implies that it might not even have mattered if she hadn’t.
InTouch asked Clifford about Trump’s “broken promises” of career advancement during the 2011 interview. Clifford responded, “I wasn’t like going around telling everybody, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to be on.’ It’s not like I bought into it 100 percent. I was challenging him to make it happen. I figured my shot was 50-50 even though he swore up and down it was 100. It’s not just him. I never really get my hopes up on big stuff like that.”
But other women certainly have. Clifford’s story shows that Trump isn’t much different from other men who demand sex in exchange for job opportunities, men whose proclivities have ruined them professionally, men like Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, and Charlie Rose. Except he’s the president.
Amid talk of a government shutdown, the story of the affair between Trump and the porn star will likely get dismissed by people who find it all salacious. But it’s not. Clifford’s account brings into focus a troubling pattern and lends more credence to the stories of the 19 women who have accused the president of sexual misconduct.
At the conclusion of the interview, InTouch asked Clifford if she had a message for Trump’s wife Melania. “I don’t know,” she replied. “Karma will always bite you in the ass.”