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Silent in the face of a storm: Trump mum on porn star’s allegations

Stormy Daniels on Sunday said she was threatened to keep quiet about her affair with Trump, but the US president is yet to respond to her allegations — something extremely out of character for him.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2018 07:16 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,Stormy Daniels,Karen McDougal
US President Donald Trump(Reuters)

An estimated 22 million Americans watched porn actor Stormy Daniels talk on Sunday night about her affair with US President Donald Trump and how she had been threatened to keep quiet about it.

There hasn’t been a word from Trump about it since. Not one tweet, not even an off-hand public remark. And that’s extremely out of character for Trump, someone who prides himself as an aggressive counter-puncher and has built a reputation for nasty and insulting comebacks.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, dropped plenty of bombs in the explosive interview to CBS News’ 60 Minutes programme that are bound to have irritated him.

She said she wasn’t physically attracted to him, did not want to have sex with and that he had not used a condom. Most notably, Daniels spoke of how she had ordered Trump, who was 60 to drop his pants for a spanking.

But not a word from Trump.

White House press secretary Raj Shah told reporters: “The president doesn’t believe that any of the claims that Ms Daniels made... are accurate (and) that he’s denied the accusations that she made and has been consistent in doing so”.

Asked why Trump hasn’t said anything himself yet, Shah said: “That will be up to the president”.

But Trump has not been silent because he doesn’t care. He is reported to have privately polled White House aides and associates about the interview. According to the Washington Post, he has said Daniels is not his kind of woman and has told a friend it was all a “political hoax”.

Experts say the problem for Trump comes from the non-disclosure agreement his long-time personal lawyer, David Cohen, signed with Daniels to buy her silence for $130,000. The agreement was signed in October 2016, in the final stages of the election.

The payment, which Cohen has said he paid out of his own pocket, could be treated as in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign, which could be a violation of federal elections commission laws.

On Monday, Daniels sued Cohen, accusing him of defaming her and violating election funding laws — “the hush agreement was entered with the illegal aim, design, and purpose of circumventing federal campaign finance law”.

A watchdog group has already filed a complaint with the federal election commission about the hush money.

Trump has also been quiet about claims of an affair by a former Playboy model Karen McDougal. She too has sued to be freed from her legal agreements that prevent her from speaking publicly about her relationship with Trump.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 23:26 IST