Politics - News Analysis
A Furious Melania Trump Temporarily Moved Out of the White House When the Stormy Daniels Story Broke
When details of former President Donald Trump’s tryst with adult film actress Stormy Daniels were revealed by The Wall Street Journal and a celebrity magazine in 2018, an understandably upset Melania Trump spent a few nights at a posh D.C. hotel.
At this point, Melania wanted nothing to do with the White House and media circus when it was revealed that Trump had paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about the affair, The Daily Mail reported.
I’m no fan of Melania Trump, but really, who can blame her for doing this?
And Melania abandoning the ship is exactly what Donald Trump feared would happen and it’s why he arranged to pay Daniels 15 months earlier, said one source close to the former president.
“Trump was beside himself that Melania would find out the details of his indiscretion — an indiscretion with a porn star no less,” the source said. “He knew what the consequences could be and he would do whatever he could to keep a lid on it.”
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Now Trump, 76, is claiming he will be arrested Tuesday (we won’t mind if that happens) on New York State charges that he allegedly falsified business records and committed campaign finance violations in order to reimburse his then-attorney and fixer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 he paid to keep Daniels from talking.
Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing, including the affair with Daniels, 44, and claims the case is politically motivated. He has described the payment as a “nuisance payment,” that rich people sometimes pay to make a problem disappear.
But when the WSJ broke the story in January 2018, Melania, now 52, decided that her best option was to leave her husband for a few days. And once the WSJ broke the story, a celebrity tabloid published a lurid 2011 interview with Daniels, who discussed the 2006 encounter with Trump in a casino hotel room at Lake Tahoe, Nevada after a celebrity charity golf tournament.
The tabloid held the story for seven years, publishing it right after the WSJ story broke.
“It was upsetting and humiliating; her relationship with President Trump became strained,” one source told DailyMail.com when the news of the payment broke.
And when it came time for Trump to appear at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 18, 2018, Melania, who had originally been scheduled to attend with him, instead fled Washington, D.C., for West Palm Beach, Florida.
At the time of the fling, Melania was caring for her and Trump’s then-four-month-old son Barron.
Stephanie Grisham, who was the East Wing communications director, told DailyMail.com at the time that Melania’s decision to skip the trip to Davos was due to “scheduling and logistical issues.”
She had also said the first lady had originally intended to go to Davos as a show of support for her husband, who spoke at the forum. In the years that have passed Grisham and the Trumps have had a very public falling out.
But another prominent source noted in 2018:
“Melania spends three to four days a week away from the White House and has stayed at a hotel in D.C. multiple times in January, often for days at a time. She also travels up to New York.”
“She rarely comes into his West Wing office as other first ladies have done and her schedule is vague at best.”
“She seems to be avoiding duties unless there is a very special reason.”
“Talk among staffers is that the Stormy Daniels affair hit her hard, it’s been upsetting and humiliating and her relationship with President Trump has become strained.”
The source added:
“If she is seen with him in public she’s very robotic, she smiles and then they go their separate ways.”
“Melania seems to be actively limiting the time she spends with her husband and her behavior has raised eyebrows.”
Well, there is such a thing as self-preservation, and perhaps that’s what Melania was trying to do. She disappeared for days at a time, only breaking cover to make an appearance at the Holocaust Museum in Washington in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was the first time the then-first lady had been spotted in 10 days.
The White House hadn’t invited the press along for this excursion and this was only publicized by Melania’s spokeswoman.
Then came the couple’s 13th wedding anniversary on January 22 which came and went without being mentioned by Trump or Melania. The president didn’t even schedule time for such a celebration. Of course, this was also during a hectic news cycle when the country was entering the second month of a government shutdown, with Trump tweeting on average four times a day.
Melania, for her part, never tweeted about her excursion to the museum and stayed off of social media for the most part.
This is a pretty sharp contrast from the couple’s 10th anniversary when Trump purportedly gave Melania a 25-carat diamond ring, a definite upgrade from the 12-carat engagement ring he’d given her.
Daniels has discussed the alleged fling with Trump at the Harrah’s Casino hotel during the 2006 celebrity golf tournament, and some of the things she’s had to say weren’t particularly flattering towards Trump.
“The sex was nothing crazy,” Daniels remembered. “He wasn’t like, chain me to the bed or anything. It was one position.” Daniels has since said it was “the worst 90 seconds of my life.”
She also noted, “I can definitely describe his junk perfectly if I ever have to.”
And apparently, according to Daniels, Trump wanted to keep things going after their romp. “He was like, ‘I wanna see you again, when can I see you again?'”
She also told InTouch that Trump, then the star of The Apprentice, lured her into conversations and sex by promising he’d get her a role on the show.”
“I didn’t have any unrealistic expectations of actually being on the show … So now I wonder if the whole thing was just a f**king lie,” she said, to get her to have sex with him.
“And I guess it worked.”
Then just about 10 years later he began doing the same thing to the U.S. So it seems appropriate that this one affair and Trump’s likely efforts to cover it up may just be his downfall.