Did Trump Respond To Stormy Daniels' Interview? The White House Says He's Too Busy Running The Country
Donald Trump is known for his bellicose tweets. The president has lampooned almost every perceived political foe but his fiery e-screeds haven't made an appearance yet as far as the adult film star Stormy Daniels' story goes. On Tuesday, the White House defended Trump's silence on Stormy Daniels as White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump gets to choose when and who he punches back at (or not).
While speaking to a pool of reporters on Tuesday, Sanders said that the president can't possibly respond to every single report about him. "If he did, he would probably be addressing a lot of the stories that most of you write every single minute of every single day," she added. "He also has a country to run. And he is doing a great job with that. ... Sometimes he chooses to specifically engage and punch back, and sometimes he doesn't."
The White House's defense of Trump's silence comes amid allegations that he and Daniels had an affair in 2006. After weeks of reports, and with Daniels actively seeking to nullify a nondisclosure agreement she signed with Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, Daniels claimed to journalist Anderson Cooper on CBS' 60 Minutes that she and Trump had unprotected sex once. Although the White House has said that Trump denies the affair, the president has yet to directly release a statement on the subject — much less tweet about it Daniels at all.
Daniels has also claimed that she was paid $130,000 as part of the nondisclosure agreement before the 2016 election to remain silent about the affair. Cohen, however, has said that the $130,000 was from his own pocket and had nothing to do with Trump's election campaign.
On Tuesday, Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti told Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Situation Room that Trump's silence speaks volumes. It means, Avenatti said, the president knows the adult film star isn't lying:
Why we haven't heard from the president as to these allegations is really beyond me. I do not understand. This man can tweet about a whole host of the most mundane things in the world on a consistent basis. Yet he cannot come out and state unequivocally that [Daniels] was not in his hotel room, they did not have an affair, that he knew nothing of the agreement, knew nothing of the payment.
Avenatti concluded, "I think the reason why he refuses to do that is clear and that is because my client is telling the truth, and he knows it."
Daniels has also alleged that she was threatened by a man to remain silent about the alleged affair with Trump. While speaking with Cooper during the 60 Minutes interview, Daniels said that when she was trying to sell the story to media in 2011, she was approached by a man in a parking lot in Las Vegas. The man, Daniels said, told her to keep her lips zipped about the story.
"And a guy walked up on me and said to me, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,'" she said. "And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, 'That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.' And then he was gone." Daniels told CNN she never received any money from media outlets for the story about the alleged affair.
Although Sanders offered a defense for Trump's silence during Tuesday afternoon's press briefing, she did not offer any new comments on Daniels' allegation that she was threatened to remain silent about the alleged one-time affair or that she was paid to remain quiet. When it came to questions about reported hush money and threats, Sanders said that reporters should talk to Trump's attorney.
"That is a question you would have to ask the president's attorney," the White House press secretary told media reporters. "I certainly cannot speak for [Trump]. I can only speak on behalf of the White House."