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 favourite 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 Cliffords, 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.)