Will the ghosts of President Donald Trump's (alleged) affairs ever stop haunting him? It seems like the answer is no.
On Friday, The New Yorker published a bombshell report detailing how Trump allegedly had an extramarital relationship with former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, and the lengths he and his close associates went to conceal the affair.
Trump and McDougal allegedly began their affair after meeting at the Playboy Mansion in the summer of 2006. The relationship lasted nine months, a period in which Trump flew McDougal to several public events and also met in private several times, according to the report. According to John Crawford, a friend of McDougal, the affair ended because she felt guilty. (Crawford also gave The New Yorker an eight-page, handwritten document McDougal had written in the past confirming her relationship with Trump. )
Around the time of the 2016 presidential election, American Media, Inc. (AMI), which owns the National Enquirer, paid McDougal for the rights to her story — but then never ran the piece, instead burying the allegations. This was first reported by The Wall Street Journal in November 2016 and McDougal confirmed it on The New Yorker piece.
The White House denied the claims, calling the report their favorite term: "fake news."
The report comes just a few days after his lawyer Michael Cohen admitted to The New York Times that he paid former adult actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket just weeks before the 2016 presidential election. (The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid in exchange for her silence on an affair with Trump in 2006, a relationship she extensively talked about in a 2011 InTouch interview.) Though both parties deny the affair, Daniels' manager says she can now "tell her story" since she believes Cohen broke their non-disclosure agreement.
Daniels' alleged relationship with Trump took place around the same time McDougal was also allegedly romantically involved with him. At the time, the president had just married Melania Trump and their son Barron was just a few months old.
According to The New Yorker, the relationship between McDougal and Trump was entirely consensual. And the news of yet another affair are not exactly surprising, since the president has been a well-known philanderer most of his life. For example, while married to first wife Ivana Trump, he had an affair with Marla Maples — who he went on to marry after separating from Ivana. Trump has also bragged extensively about using his position and fame to meet women (or according to the infamous Access Hollywood tape, to sexually assault them, though he denies those claims too.)
Ahead, the seven most shocking claims of the report.
Trump and McDougal allegedly met in June 2006 at a party thrown by the late Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion in L.A. At the time, the president and Melania had been married for less than two years and their son, Barron, was an infant. After the party ended, Trump allegedly asked for McDougal's phone number.
She would later write that he "immediately took a liking to me, kept talking to me — telling me how beautiful I was, etc. It was so obvious that a Playmate Promotions exec said, 'Wow, he was all over you — I think you could be his next wife.'"
Trump and McDougal allegedly had their first date at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The two had dinner and afterwards had sex. McDougal wrote that as she was getting ready to leave, Trump offered to pay her.
She wrote, "He offered me money. I looked at him (+ felt sad) + said, 'No thanks — I’m not 'that girl.' I slept w/you because I like you — NOT for money’ — He told me 'you are special.'"
According to the document McDougal wrote, Trump flew her out to events across the country. (One of them was the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe, where he allegedly began his affair with Stormy Daniels.)
But McDougal wrote that Trump was careful about leaving behind documentation that could tie the two of them together. "No paper trails for him," she wrote. "In fact, every time I flew to meet him, I booked/paid for flight + hotel + he reimbursed me."
McDougal even visited Trump Tower and his golf club in Bedminster, NJ. She wrote that he gave her a tour of Trump Tower and pointed out Melania’s separate bedroom. He allegedly told her that Melania "liked her space to read or be alone."
One of the reasons why McDougal ended the alleged relationship is because she felt guilty about it. But Trump also allegedly behaved disrespectfully when referring to her friends and family.
McDougal wrote that when she told him she was worried about what her mother would think of the affair, he allegedly replied: "What, that old hag?" She also said that once a friend of her mentioned she had a relationship with a Black man, and Trump replied that the friend liked the "the big black dick" — which upset both McDougal and her friend.
McDougal said that her contract with AMI over the rights to her story is exploitative. The company was supposed to pay her $150,000, but the three men involved in brokering the payout took 45% of it, so she ended up reportedly being paid only $82,500.
AMI allegedly promised her a fitness and aging column, which never materialized. (The company said McDougal never produced the pieces.) Emails obtained by The New Yorker show that AMI suggested it could collaborate with her on a skincare line and a documentary, though neither has happened.
The agreement also blocks McDougal from talking about any type of relationship involving a married man. "I knew that I couldn’t talk about any alleged affair with any married man," McDougal told The New Yorker, "but I didn’t really understand the whole content of what I gave up."
After news of Trump's alleged affair with Daniels broke in January, AMI contacted McDougal suggesting she should undergo media training. The company even offered to renew her contract and put her on a new magazine cover.
Crawford, McDougal's friend, told The New Yorker: "They got worried that she was going to start talking again, and they came running to her."
McDougal said one of the reasons she is speaking up about her AMI contract is because she was inspired by the #MeToo movement.
"I know it’s a different circumstance," she told The New Yorker, "but I just think I feel braver."
She added that she hoped her story would help others to think twice before signing a agreement like the one she has with AMI. She said: "Every girl who speaks is paving the way for another."