The relationship between sex & pop culture

The saga of Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels

Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels
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Photo illustration by Josh Granovsky

Through Trump’s presidency, we’re truly learning about the way sex interacts with politics.

Thanks to Anderson Cooper’s two interviews with different women earlier this month, we know way more about Trump’s sex life than we probably ever wanted to.

But the reason why it’s suddenly appropriate to discuss the President’s sex life is because it’s potentially interfering with politics.

To sum up what’s been happening in the last couple weeks – Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, both came out about alleged affairs with Trump while he was married to his current wife, Melania Trump.

While Daniels alleges hers was a single incident, in McDougal’s case, she claims it was a 10-month-long relationship. Even though McDougal’s case was much more interesting and scandalous, Daniels’ encounter with the then-businessman is proving to be much more important in politics.

Following this encounter detailed during a 60 Minutes interview, Daniels decided to sell the story to InTouch in 2011. She was informed the story wouldn’t be published (it eventually was in January of this year after the scandal broke again) and instead signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which paid her $130,000 courtesy of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen.

But this is where it gets problematic for Trump and his presidency.

The monetary exchange between Cohen and Daniels occurred just a couple of days before the election. In terms of election campaign funds, all need to be recorded and handed in to a federal committee that ensures all campaign funding is allocated properly.

In the case of Trump, there was no record of the payment to Daniels of $130,000. If that was indeed left off of the list of Trump’s finances, it would present a problem for the future of his presidency.

Cohen claims he paid Daniels out of his own pocket because of his close connection with and support for the Trump family. A federal committee is now investigating but there’s yet to be proof that this is the case.

This isn’t the only time that sex has had an active role in politics. Bill Clinton’s infamous affair with Monica Lewinsky was what led to certain branches of government voting to impeach him. In Clinton’s case, it was because he lied about the affair under oath which is against the law for being an act of perjury.

In a society where sex is often considered something deeply private, the intertwining of this with politics can actually become very messy for everybody involved.

Only time will tell how much the Stormy Daniels NDA will affect the future of Trump’s presidency. For now, it’s easy to tell that Trump’s private actions could one day end up impacting his public duties.

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