Thank You, Stormy Daniels -- For Letting Us See Trump Being Trump

Thank You, Stormy Daniels -- For Letting Us See Trump Being Trump

Stormy Daniels

It wasn’t a crime to meet a woman who acts in pornographic movies at a golf tournament. It wasn’t a crime to hit her up, so to speak, and invite her to have dinner later with you at your hotel. It wasn’t a crime to have failed to inform her that the dinner would be in your hotel room. It wasn’t a crime to greet her at the door in a pair of satin pajamas. It wasn’t a crime that you changed into regular clothes when she teased you about trying to imitate the lifestyle of Hugh Hefner

Chatting with the woman about her profession in the porn trade, it wasn’t even a crime to dangle the suggestion that she would make a good contestant on your hit television show, The Apprentice, as your quid for a yet unspoken quo. That’s the way a lot of business opportunities happen – you meet someone, you get to know them a little, and it occurs to you that they would be a good fit in your business endeavor.

The case could be made that it was all just banter between two adults getting to know one another. That is what Donald Trump’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, was attempting to do in cross-examining Stormy Daniels on Friday morning. She set the scene:

There was Stormy Daniels in Donald Trump’s hotel room, taking a moment to use the bathroom to freshen up. When Daniels comes out of the bathroom, the lawyer states, she was a woman who “acted and had sex in over 200 porn movies, right?”

“Right,” answered Stormy Daniels.

“And there are naked men and naked women having sex in those movies?”


“But according to you, seeing a man sitting on a bed in a T-shirt and boxers was so upsetting, you became light-headed and almost fainted?”

“Yes,” answered Daniels. “When you’re not expecting a man twice your age, yes.”

She didn’t have to spell it out for the lawyer, or the judge, or the press and public attending the trial. It was the moment she knew that all the banter about The Apprentice and whether there were unions in the pornographic film business, all of it had been leading up to the moment when she realized that Trump intended to have sex with her whether she wanted to or not.

Everyone could fill in the blanks. You don’t sit on a bed in your underwear waiting for a woman, any woman, to come out of the bathroom unless you assume that she is going to have sex with you. Not want to have sex with you. Not agree to have sex with you. Because you want to have sex with her.

Trump’s lawyer put it quite inartfully: because this was a woman who has acted in more than 200 pornographic movies with “naked men and naked women having sex,” the reasonable assumption by her client was that the woman would now have sex with him because he was Donald Trump.

See, there’s the gap in this whole thing – the yawning chasm that exists not just between Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, but between Donald Trump and every woman in the world. Trump thought he could push E. Jean Carroll up against the wall in a dressing room and sexually assault her. He thought he could grope a woman who just happened to be sitting next to him on a flight across the country. He thought he could do the same thing to a woman sitting next to him in a restaurant. According to women who came forward to tell their stories in 2016, he sexually harassed and assaulted more than 25 women over the previous 30 years.

He's been doing it all his life, exploiting the gap between his privilege and everyone he comes in contact with, but especially women. What was it he said to interviewer Billy Bush on the famous Access Hollywood tapes? “So just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Those are the unspoken words at the Trump trial on Friday -- unspoken by Trump’s attorney as she did her cross-examination. The words were not spoken when Stormy Daniels answered questions. And of course, those words were not spoken by Donald Trump as he sat at the defense table, and they will remain unspoken throughout the rest of the trial until the jury is dismissed to begin its deliberations. Trump knows what happened between himself and Stormy Daniels in a Lake Tahoe hotel room 18 years ago because he knows what has happened between himself and women for his entire life.

You can do anything.

He stripped down to his boxer shorts and t-shirt while she was in the bathroom because “you can do anything.” He had sex with her because “you can do anything.” He paid her off and bought her silence in the final days before the 2016 presidential election because “you can do anything.” He falsified his New York state financial reports to conceal that pay off because “you can do anything.”

So-called consensual sex between adults is not a crime, but every functioning brain cell in every human brain in that courtroom on Friday, including Trump’s female attorney, knew the truth. Donald Trump’s crime is his assumption that he can do anything and get away with it because he is Donald Trump.

Trump’s lawyer seemed to think that because Daniels was “acting” in pornographic films, that the sex wasn’t real. “So, you have a lot of experience in making phony stories about sex seem real,” the lawyer asked her, clearly not expecting the answer she got from Daniels: “The sex in the films, it’s very much real. Just like what happened to me in that room.”

In fact, in the motion picture business, everything that happens on screen is fake – the laughter, the tears, the blanks fired by guns, the car wrecks – everything, that is, except the sex in pornographic films, because the sex act in porn can’t be faked. The sex act is what porn is about. It’s what viewers pay for.

Donald Trump didn’t think about any of this because Donald Trump assumes that he can do anything he wants. Now in a Manhattan courtroom, he is being made to sit in a chair and listen to what he did. The crime he is charged with isn’t the sex, it’s the pay-off, in a kind of backhanded bookkeeping way. But quintessentially, Trump’s crime is his attitude. He is on trial for being Donald Trump and acting like Donald Trump has always acted, and it’s driving him crazy.

Thank you, Stormy Daniels. Thank you.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

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