Apr 2, 2018
The interview of Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, had more than 22 million viewers when it aired on the television program 60 Minutes.
Clifford spoke out in the face of potential penalties contained in a “hush agreement” which may proscribe any public disclosure of a personal intimate affair with Donald Trump in 2006.
The Clifford story was not salacious, nor was it overly dramatic or flashy. It included the bullying she has been subjected to, and also a report of being threatened in a parking lot while her baby was in the backseat of her car. She alleges that she was approached by a man who told her to leave Trump alone because it would be a pity for the child to lose her mom.
According to Clifford, when approached in 2016, just prior to the election, she had no reason not to sign a non-disclosure agreement as presented. She said that in any event, she did not want the details of the relationship to go public, and feared for the safety of herself and her child. She maintained that she is not a victim, and that finally, she wants her own story back and to be free of the lies being told about her, the bullying, and the threats.
Certainly, there has been an interest in her story as it may affect the future of U.S. President Donald Trump both politically and legally. The payment made to Clifford by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohn may constitute a political contribution that was not reported by either Cohn or Trump during the 2016 elections, which constitutes a violation of U.S. election law.
Perhaps what was most surprising about the interview to many was the reasonableness and directness of Clifford’s testimony. A large majority of viewers indicated that they believed Clifford over Trump. Perhaps most shocking in all of it was the matter of fact way in which we have been socialized to accept bullying and violence against women.
What is normal about open recognition that Trump has a “fixer” who can bully women? What is normal about an “agreement” that contains a million-dollar fine for each incident of disclosure; for just talking about an affair! What is normal about a man, let alone a President, filing a 20 million-dollar countersuit against a woman he had relations with!
The Clifford story is a high publicity reflection of the same old story: that this society not only permits but thrives on the bullying and exploitation of women, and the violence used to support it.
Should the future reveal discrepancies in the Clifford story, the underlying report of bullying and violence, including threats, will still remain credible.