When In Touch Weekly published an interview with an adult film actress who alleges to have had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, there was one strange detail that caught people's attention — and it wasn't conventionally salacious. According to the actress, Stormy Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford), during her second evening with Trump, she learned that he hates sharks. And what did people do when they learned this about the president? They began donating to shark-saving charities, in Trump's name.
"He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks," Daniels told In Touch. "He was like, 'I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.'"
According to a report by MarketWatch, shark-preserving charities that otherwise struggle to raise funds for an animal that has a habit of evoking a lot of fear, are reaping the benefits. Several organizations said that they suddenly received an influx of donations that specifically mentioned Trump in their comments.
Daniels told In Touch that when she arrived to Trump's hotel room for dinner in 2006, a television was on, tuned into Shark Week. She described Trump as both "riveted" and "obsessed" with the programming. After dinner, she said, they moved to "the sofa so he could get a better view of Shark Week."
Many have been quick to point out that Trump's hatred for sharks might not actually be a brand new revelation. In classic Trump-ian fashion, he has a history of tweeting about his feelings on sharks. "Sorry folks, I'm just not a fan of sharks - and don't worry, they will be around long after we are gone," he tweeted on July 4, 2013. Two minutes later, on the same day, he doubled down, adding, "Sharks are last on my list - other than perhaps the losers and haters of the World!"
Of course, shark-hatred aside, Daniels was the subject of some serious allegations against Trump, both in the interview and surrounding its release. If the details she shared are true, then her reported affair with Trump would have taken place just shortly after Melania gave birth to their son, Barron. Michael Cohen, one of Trump's lawyers, told the Journal, "President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence, as has Ms. Daniels." Reportedly, this denial only referenced the affair, itself.
Before the interview was published, a The Wall Street Journal report said that Trump's lawyer arranged to pay $130,000 to Daniels in exchange for her silence on the affair. This transaction reportedly took place in the month prior to the 2016 presidential election. The Journal reports that a separate email, purporting to be written by Daniels but released by Cohen, denied the payout.
The In Touch interview reportedly took place before Daniels received the reported hush money. However, it wasn't published in full until January of 2018, after rumors of the affair resurfaced. Critics have been quick to point out that the reported payout would have taken place right around the time that the now-infamous Access Hollywood tapes were released.
The most quoted portion of the tape, for a refresher, included a moment in which Trump says that he can grab women by their genitals because he is famous:
I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything... Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything.
At the time, Trump apologized for the lewd nature of his comments, and dismissed them as locker-room talk. But, if there is a bright side to any of this, it's that the scandal has encouraged political opponents to take out their frustrations by supporting nature conservancy. And whether or not Trump does, in fact, hate sharks, that's always a good thing.