Some have made some on-point observations about the nature of scandal in the Trump era — while Donald Trump is in power, items that normally would occupy preeminent places in the national political conversation have been relegated to passing thoughts.
In that light, although the Wall Street Journal abruptly published a recent story about the president having allegedly arranged for a porn star to be paid off so that she’d keep quiet about their affair, this alleged extramarital affair is by far not the most shocking story of his administration.
The individual in question, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, has never said that she was forced into anything — but other women have done just that. Trump has wrongfully denied even knowing any of the women to accuse him of harassment or assault, but he remains credibly alleged of having mistreated numerous women.
In the case of Clifford, there have actually been rumors and occasional stories about her and Trump’s relationship for some time, but the story never really hit major headline status thanks to Clifford ceasing contact with members of the press just a short time before the 2016 presidential election.
Slate has now published a report about their interactions with Clifford before she stopped speaking to reporters back in 2016, revealing that not only did she and Trump have an alleged sexual encounter in a Nevada hotel room back in 2006, but she and Trump continued on with their affair for nearly a year.
Clifford told Slate that her and Trump had met numerous times across the country, including in New York City and Los Angeles. Among their meetings was a time that Trump invited her to a party to promote the failed Trump Vodka line. The belligerent businessman also invited her to the 2007 Miss USA pageant.
As evidence for her claims of a lengthy relationship with Trump, who was married to Melania throughout that whole time, Cliffords said that she had the phone numbers of Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard Keith Schiller and personal assistant Rhona Graff.
Slate reporter Jacob Weisberg says that Cliffords spoke to him about the agreement for Trump to pay her off that she said had not been finalized at the time. She texted him a copy of a document that went alongside the main agreement and had not been signed that established that pseudonyms to use for the main interests in the case in the actual document.
Cliffords explained to Weisberg that she spoke to him in part out of anger over Trump’s “newfound opposition to abortion and gay marriage.” She also suspected that Trump was never even going to sign the agreement and pay her.
At the same time that Cliffords was in contact with Slate and other news outlets, it came out that the Trump-aligned National Enquirer had paid another woman for her story of having an affair with Trump but silenced her through never actually publishing the story.
That story, like so many others, fell by the wayside in the face of the overwhelming torrent of allegations of misconduct against the president.
The Trump team has continuously denied the whole thing.